Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Marines with Alpha Co., Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), completed tactical site exploitation training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 19-21, 2013.
The training was part of a vertical assault course for the MEU’s ground combat element. The BLT comprises an infantry battalion reinforced with artillery, tanks, combat engineers, and other attachments needed to support the team’s mission.
Before the Marines conducted the raid, they trained on completing tactical site exploitation for a building that has been cleared but still needs to be carefully checked.
“It’s just like a crime scene investigation,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Matthew Bratton, team leader and native of Fruitland, Idaho. “Every piece of evidence has to be detailed and picked up.”
Site exploitation teams are made up of a team leader, cameraman, scribe and two searchers who move into a building and don latex gloves in order to avoid contaminating anything they find.
One piece of evidence doesn’t outweigh another, said Bratton. “You need all the pieces to make a good case.”
The team has to work well with time constraints, as they may have only five to 10 minutes to check a two- to three-story building. The importance of correct tactics, techniques and procedures is critical.
“When you have to execute in a time compressed environment and you don’t have a lot of time for planning, execution becomes quicker,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Brendan Neagle, Alpha Co., BLT 1/6, commanding officer and native of Southington, Conn.
The Marines move through the building labeling rooms and evidence, photographing everything they find. Anything that could have fingerprints or DNA samples are handled carefully and placed into evidence collection bags.
Any items found are sent back to military criminal investigation services for research. Every bit of evidence collected can reveal information that can help keep Marines and civilians safe.
The MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.