Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan -- Emerging through the thick jungle, nearly a dozen amphibious assault vehicles rolled toward the enemy encampment. As the foreboding sound of the approaching tracks grew louder, the enemy dug-in deeper and refused to surrender.
Marines and Sailors with Company A., Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a mechanized raid here, Jan 11.
The mechanized raid was a realistic scenario designed for the Marines and Sailors to mirror an actual combat situation.
“Coming out and doing these raids requires us to go through the full process and steps to execute the actual raid,” said Capt. Adam C. Stiles, the company commander for Co. A and a native of Denver Colo. “If we don’t know how to conduct these raids perfectly, we wouldn’t have the confidence to do this in a real situation.”
For the scenario, the Marines and Sailors encountered a reinforced enemy squad with AK-47 assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades and SA-14 Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems. The enemy location served as an improvised explosive device production facility and a terrorist training ground.
The mission was to surround the enemy and attempt to mitigate casualties by presenting the chance for the enemy to surrender. If the enemy refused, the Marines and Sailors were to assault the encampment, killing or capturing all enemy combatants.
“In combat situations, practice makes perfect,” said Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Kutch, a fire team leader with Co A., BLT 1/5, 31st MEU and a native of Fredericksburg, Va. “It teaches you how to adapt to things and fix them on a fly for a real combat scenario.”
Once the enemy was surrounded, the Marines issued a warning through a loud speaker to the entrenched enemy. The Marines informed the enemy of their precarious position in being surrounded, a reminder of the Marines’ superiority in training and firepower. The enemy’s lack of response forced Company A. to prove their strength.
Springing forth from the jungle, lines of Marines and Sailors opened fire on the fortified enemy. Using the fire superiority of the company and battle-tested maneuvers taught to every Marine rifle squad, the small enemy force was overwhelmed within minutes.
“This kind of training ensures they can shoot, move and trust in each other ,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary F. Taylor, a platoon sergeant with Co A., BLT 1/5, 31st MEU and a native of Salem, Miss. “We are about to deploy, where we will be working with our allies in multilateral training. Without confidence in what we are doing, we wouldn’t be able to properly demonstrate to the other countries how we operate.”
The raid was a part of the 31st MEU’s pre-deployment training for the Spring Patrol 2013, where the Marines and Sailors are scheduled to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold, an annual multi-lateral exercise. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.