WHITE BEACH, Okinawa, Japan --
The hum of the boat engines are drowned out by the sound of waves crashing on the beach. Concealed by the sounds of nature, more than 100 Marines speed toward their objective.
Marines from Company F., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a boat raid exercise, monitored by Special Operations Training Group, here, July 11.
The Marines conducted this training for the benefit of preparation, but also as part of the MEU’s self-evaluation exercise prior to deployment in the Asia-Pacific region.
“My Marines benefit from this training a lot, because it has been awhile since they have been on boats,” said 1st Sgt. Jacob B. Jones, the first sergeant of Company F., BLT 2/1 and native of Suffield, Conn. “(This training) is a good opportunity for us to get in there and get wet.”
The Marines of Company F. used the raid to hone their skills in accountability, formations and assault using Combat Rubber Raiding Craft.
The CRRC boats of the raid force storm the beach in waves, each bringing dozens of Marines swiftly ashore. Their transports are still moving as the Marines’ boots hit the water and sand.
Once ashore, the Marines separate into three groups, each equally vital in mission accomplishment, according to Sgt. Robert L. Thatcher, a squad leader with Company F., BLT 2/1. The three groups are an assault group, security group and the support by fire.
The assault group is the main effort, tasked with completing whatever objective the raid has been given. The security group keeps a watchful eye on the area, serving as an early warning of enemy forces to the main body of Marines. The support by fire group assists the main effort through maneuver and direct fire.
The three groups bring more than 100 Marines ashore, transporting the firepower of a Marine rifle company in small rubber boats.
The raid was one of many the Marines of Company F will conduct during their time as the 31st MEU’s “boat company.”
The 31st MEU is the United States' force in readiness for the Asia Pacific and the Marine Corps' only continuously forward deployed MEU.