CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
The sound of helicopter rotors filled the air at range 17 as CH-46E Sea Knights approached the area.
As they touched down, Marines inside rapidly exited the helicopters and began setting up security; making their way to a pre-determined objective.
Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force stacked up beside the front door of the target building and set a breaching charge during the mock dynamic assault, Jan. 19. The call “breaching, breaching, breaching,” was followed by a loud explosion.
The attack had begun and teams of Marines moved quickly through the interior of the building, some entering from the front door, others from the side. The sound of gunfire erupted as they began clearing rooms and eliminating targets, filling the air with white smoke from burning gunpowder.
Their objective: to locate smuggled weapons within the building. In less than ten minutes it was all over, the building was secured and detainees were being searched. “This was the first time the Maritime Raid Force was able to work together,” said Gunnery Sgt. Steve Sarten, the special mission’s branch chief for III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group.
Sarten also explained this type of training is important because the 31st MEU is constantly getting new Marines, and this helps integrate them into the team, allowing it to become more efficient.
“The Maritime Raid Force is made up of five different groups; reconnaissance platoon, air combat element, security platoon, force reconnaissance platoon, and the maritime raid force command element,” said Sarten.
This raid was an opportunity for each section to combine their skill sets; from planning all the way through execution.
“The purpose of this exercise was to ensure the Marines had good communication and command within the squads. The timing of everything was pretty synchronized and coordinated; especially considering this was their first time working together,” said Maj. Darren Crow, the operations officer for SOTG.
The 31st MEU is conducting training to maintain its mission readiness as the Maritime Contingency Force in the Asia-Pacific region.