CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Sprinting out of vehicles toward the objective, the reconnaissance Marines sight in on the target building and prepare the detonation charges. With a thunderous explosion, the entry site burst inward and the Marines rush into the hostile compound.
Marines and Sailors with the Maritime Raid Force of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted a low-light, live-fire raid here, June 4. The MRF, consisting of a security platoon of infantry Marines, an amphibious reconnaissance platoon and a force reconnaissance platoon, executed the raid as part of their pre-deployment training package.
“This training helps the Marines who are proficient at raids maintain their skills while improving the Marines that are newer to the platoon,” said Sgt. Cody J. Hadden, a squad leader with the security platoon of the MRF, 31st MEU, and a native of Huntington, Texas. “With this training we are able to integrate with the other elements of the MRF, which is something we haven’t had the chance to do (before).”
The Marines of the amphibious reconnaissance platoon laid in concealment for hours prior to the arrival of the assault force, with snipers observing the area for enemy activity. After their observations of enemy activity were relayed, the insertion on the objective began with the security platoon leading the way. The security platoon set up a perimeter of road blocks for containment and to stop possible reinforcements from outside the compound. Including the security platoon, called the “trailer platoon” by their reconnaissance counterparts, allowed the MRF to hone their integration.
“It was the first big event that the trailer platoon had done with us, so there was a lot of kinks that needed to be worked out between us,” said a Marine with the ARP of the MRF, 31st MEU, and a native of Tampa Bay, Fla.
Maneuvering under the protection of the security platoon, force reconnaissance Marines breached the door and rushed into the facility with rifles up and ready to fire. Notional targets placed throughout the two story compound and the added danger of using live ammunition gave the Marines a realistic environment to train in.
“We try to train like it is an actual situation where we would be facing enemies that are armed and organized,” said Lance Cpl. Kaleb I. Shank, a team leader with the security platoon of the MRF, 31st MEU, and a native of Salida, Colo. “As a part of the force in readiness for this area of operations, we never know what kind of contingency we might encounter.”
The Marines egressed from the objective after clearing and searching of the compound to successfully complete the training. As a result of the realistic experience, the three integrated platoons of the MRF learned to operate more efficiently in support of crisis response missions for the 31st MEU.
The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.