American, Romanian Marines Conduct Bilateral Amphibious Raid

3 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

Waves washed over the front of the amphibious assault vehicle as it powered through the Black Sea. As it neared shore, the driver engaged the vehicle’s tracks, which began to grip into the sea floor, pulling the AAV onto the Capu Midia, Romania, approximately four kilometers from their starting point, USS Whidbey Island.

The movement was conducted by Marines with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, as part of a bilateral amphibious raid with Romanian Marines aboard Capu Midia, Romania, August 3, 2011.

As the culmination of a five-day training exercise, known as Summer Storm Amphibious Bilateral Exercise 11, the raid was meant to increase the interoperability between U.S. and Romanian forces.

“The amphibious raid was the best part of this training,” said Romanian Capt. Visan Claudiuv, the commanding officer of 2nd Company, 307th Marine Infantry Battalion. “It was a great exercise and operation.”

The AAVs plowed the sand as they moved from the beach towards their objectives. While some AAVs moved into blocking positions along the roads, others traversed a field straight for the abandoned building packed with Romanian and Marine role players.

The AAVs came to a stop and quickly dropped their ramps to release the American and Romanian Marines who raced to the target building. Entrenched role-players began firing M-240G machine-guns, AK-47s, M-16s, and M-4s.

“Every time we train, we practice like it’s the real thing, we don’t cut any corners,” said 1st Sgt. Charles McDew, the company first sergeant for Echo Company.

The assaulting Marines returned fire and began rushing through the tall grass. Shooting, moving and communicating, they were able to create security around the building, and then entered it. They were followed shortly by the Romanians stacked on either side of the door. They then poured in to clear out a well-emplaced enemy machine gun.

“The Romanians did a good job of clearing the objective and taking out the bad guys,” said Cpl. Brent J. Moll, a squad leader and McKiney, Texas, native with Echo Company.

After the Marines and Romanians cleared the building, they practiced their tactical site exploitation by thoroughly searching each role-player before returning to the AAVs.

Marines rarely get the chance to conduct a full amphibious raid from start of finish.

“Most of the time we do training, we do it section by section,” said Moll. “Having it all go from the beginning lets us see all the pieces together and executing it like we did shows great discipline.”  

The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group serving as a potent, formidable and deterrent force who continues to train and improve their capability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.

The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.

Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and each is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to hostile environment or crisis.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit