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Photo Information

Marines with the Force Recon Platoon, 31st MEU, III MEF, fast-rope into combat town from a CH-46 helicopter, from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 June 26, Central Training Area.

Photo by Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

31st MEU recon assaults combat town

2 Jul 2010 | Story and Photos by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines with the Force Reconnaissance Platoon, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted a direct action raid on combat town, central training area, June 25.

This was just one of the many training exercises the force recon platoon will conduct in preparation for larger ones such as the realistic urban training exercise and the 31st MEU certification exercise, said Gunnery Sgt. Steven Sarten, special missions branch chief with Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

One hundred and thirty Marines including instructors, role players and assaulters participated in the exercise. Their objective was to properly execute a direct action raid.

In the early morning hours Marines entered the town by fast-roping from two CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters.

The sweaty Marines ran through deep puddles of water, staying close and communicating via hand/arm signals.

Staying alert and focused the entire time, the Marines swept through the town within minutes.

The men were armed with 45-caliber pistols and M4A1 carbines modified with the special small arms marking systems.They quickly found and captured their target.

Previously that week, the force platoon gathered intelligence to help identify a hostile individual, believed to be spreading anti-American propaganda throughout the city, said Sarten.

After they infiltrated the town, the men confiscated weapons and ammunition from the simulated insurgency and dealt with all possible improvised explosive devices.

“They did what they were trained to do,” said the primary close quarter’s combat instructor with Special Operations Training Group, special missions’ branch.

“They worked together and handled their unknowns well,” he added.

“This training is the first step in a process that culminates with the MEU’s certification exercises,” said Sarten.

The force reconnaissance platoon provides the MEU with “deep reconnaissance and precision raid capabilities,” said a lead instructor with special mission’s branch, SOTG.

“After a two-week breaching course, a five-week close quarters training course, and a one week interoperability course, the Marines will complete a two-week certification course to be qualified to go with the MEU,” he added.

Once the Marines complete their certification, they’ll have all the tools and knowledge required to provide the 31st MEU with all of its deep recon and precision raid needs.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit