IE SHIMA, OKINAWA, Japan (Sept. 25, 2009) — --
Rotors sliced through the air as eight helicopters sped toward Ie Shima with Marines and sailors from Company G (Co. G), Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines (BLT 2/5), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), ready to conduct a raid against mock insurgents, Sept. 16.
The training served as the final event of the semi-annual MEU Exercise (MEUEX).
The helo incursion was part of integration training between BLT 2/5 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 Reinforced (HMM-265 REIN).
The mission began with Co. G organizing themselves into teams and boarding six CH-46E Sea Knight and two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters. The Marines then arrived at pre-planned landing zones and swiftly disembarked into offensive fighting positions.
After securing the area, the unit moved through the tree line toward their objective.
According to Gunnery Sgt. E Dougherty, company gunnery sergeant, the mission was to secure a logistical supply plant from the insurgents.
To gain a tactical advantage, the company formed squads, each with its own tasks. Some served as assault squads, while others provided cover or reported reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) data to the mission commander.
The unforgiving jungle environment proved to be an obstacle for the Marines, according to Staff Sgt. Ryan Flynn, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Co. G.
“We knew certain parts of the raid were going to be complicated because of the terrain the island presented,” said the Mt. Pleasant, Mich. native. “Luckily we had great R&S, which gave us valuable information that better prepared us to take on the elements.”
Marines from BLT 2/5 seized the supply plant after several skirmishes with the insurgents. The Marines then accounted for their personnel and began their patrol back to the landing zone, where the Sea Knights and Super Stallions were waiting to return them to Camp Hansen.
The helo raid was held to prepare the Marines for future exercises and missions.
“We are going to be training with militaries from other countries and we want to make sure we are at the top of our game,” said Dougherty.