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Amphibious Assault Vehicles transport Marines from Camp Schwab to Landing Zone Dodo, at combat town, during a mock mechanized raid, Aug. 13. The AAV is designed to transport troops from an assault ship at sea, to a destination on shore. The Marines were conducting a mock mechanized assault in preparation for larger exercises they will participate in during the 31st MEU’s fall float. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

From Shore to Sea; BLT remains ready

13 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepared for the MEU’s fall patrol with a simulated mechanized raid on combat town, August 13.

 Three platoons of Marines, with attachments, practiced room clearing drills, set up their communication equipment in Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and briefed their plan using a terrain model of combat town, created from a trash can, meal ready to eat boxes, rocks and sand bags.

 “This is our chance to show what we can do and get better at what we do, which is mechanized assaults,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Tice, executive officer with Company A, BLT 1/7.

Despite being fairly new to Okinawa’s climate, the Marines were enthusiastic.

“It will be good training. We’ve only been out in the jungle a few times since we got here from California, so this will be a good test,” said Pfc. Ryan Poulton, radio operator, with BLT 1/7.

“These Marines are used to the desert, so this will be a whole new experience for them,” said Tice. “This is going to prepare them for exercises with the MEU this fall and help them become well-rounded Marines.”

As the sun came up over Camp Schwab on August 13, eight Amphibious Assault Vehicles entered the ocean.

 After an hour transit, the Marines reached the beach and made their way to the assault at combat town.

The Marine motto, “train like you fight” was evident.

“Everything we do prepares them for the real thing. They understand that the terrain will change and the enemy will change but the steps we follow remain the same,” said Tice.

Intelligence reports confirmed the town was being used by a mock enemy as a training camp and its inhabitants were declared hostile. The Marines inserted and attacked the town in fire teams.

They pushed through the town with M16-A4 service rifles, M240B machine guns and ‘dummy’ fragmentation grenades; securing it in less than 30 minutes. Afterwards, the Marines patrolled back to the AAVs and returned to Camp Schwab.

“Like all training, hopefully this exercise will make these Marines more efficient and help them understand the Marine Corps’ ability to do anything,” said Tice.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit