CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan (June 5, 2009)- --
It's a quiet night by the beach. Waves crash along the shore and a full moon reflects off the frigid water. Sentries armed with semi-automatic rifles feel they have full control of the night.
However, they are oblivious to the fact they are being watched by Marines waiting just a few meters away in the cold ocean water. The Marines are waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Suddenly, a plane flies overhead as a cloud blocks the moonlight, and the Marines attack.
Marines participating in a Scout Swimmers Course May 18 at the Kin Red training area outside of Camp Hansen, learned how to handle similar situations without being detected.
Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF, conducted the course, which ran from May 7-21.
"Today we're doing clandestine beach securing," an instructor said. "Basically, we're showing these Marines how to take a beach without being detected."
Throughout the course, Marines from III MEF units including 7th Communications Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Ground Combat Element, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit learned silent take downs, knife techniques, camouflaging, how to properly provide security on the beach and signal the awaiting raid force.
They put the knowledge to work as they practiced taking a dock at Kin Red. Zodiacs dropped a team consisting of about six Marines approximately 100 meters from their objective.
The team divided into groups of two and approached the objective from different angles, clearing any land masses where an enemy sentry could be posted.
The Marines pushed forward to the first identifiable terrain feature on land using hand signals to communicate, constantly covering each other's backs. After securing the dock, the instructor gave the Marines feedback on what was done right and what could have been done better.
"We're the first ones in and the last ones out," said Lance Cpl. Bidal Duran, a SAW gunner with 3rd squad, 2nd platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Ground Combat Element, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. "It's important for us to know what we're doing."
In addition to the various tactics and techniques learned throughout the course, Marines were also subject to rigorous swimming qualifications preparing them for what may lie ahead of them in the future.
"It was very physically demanding," Duran said. "I can't even begin to tell you how much I have swam since the beginning of the course."
Among the swimming requirements for the course is a two-kilometer swim, which must be completed in less than one hour in order to pass the course.
The Marines train hard during this course so when the scenario becomes real, and the moon comes back from behind the clouds, the Marines are the ones with full control of the beach.