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Photo Information

Marines with Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare to board the USS Tortuga during launch and recovery operations June 28. Once onboard the Tortuga, the Marines turned the boats around and returned to the water.

Photo by Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr.

31st MEU Raiders embrace amphibious roots, tactics

1 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr.

In the early morning hours of June 28, with darkness still heavy in the air, Marines quietly, stealthily launch the 10 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft into the still, warm waters of Kin Blue beach near Camp Hansen.

By the time the sun cast its first rays, the 68 Marines were jetting through the waves, salt water splashing their faces as they headed to the USS Tortuga off the shore of the White Beach Naval Facility.

There, the training began.

The Marines of Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, showcased the Marine Corps’ amphibious nature during launch and recovery operations with the USS Tortuga at White Beach Naval Facility June 28.

Designated as the 31st MEU’s boat company, Company F recently completed two months of training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., and a month of training in Coronado, Calif. The Raiders, a name given to a certified small boat company, continued this training on the beaches and in the waters of Okinawa.

“Launch and recovery involves the ability to do a clandestine landing in enemy territory from over the horizon and conduct a raid,” said Capt. John A. Dalby, company commander.

For the training at White Beach, the company conducted boarding and launch procedures travelling in Combat Rubber Raiding Craft to and from the USS Tortuga, then finished with beach landings at the naval facility.

Before assaulting a beach, a boat will stop nearly 1,000 meters out to drop off the company’s scout swimmers who swim to shore to scout the beach prior to the rest of the company’s landing, explained Dalby.

This is the type of training that makes Marines amphibious, said some of the participants.

“It goes back to the Marine Corps roots – our amphibious landing, our amphibious raiding, our amphibious assaults,” said Cpl. Timothy Hernandez, a chief coxswain with the company.

Hernandez has been with the company since December of 2009 and was a scout swimmer before becoming a coxswain.

Not many Marines get a chance to drive these types of boats, said Hernandez. “A Marine can be in the Marine Corps for twenty years and never get a chance to see one of these boats, let alone drive one.”

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit