Photo Information

Marines and sailors with Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, board a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st MEU, for a night raid on the flight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Mar. 10. The raid force captured an airstrip and village from simulated enemy forces under the cover of darkness. The 31st MEU is currently conducting amphibious integration training alongside Amphibious Squadron 11 while deployed for its regularly scheduled Spring Patrol.

Photo by Cpl. Henry Antenor

BLT 2/5 Marines conduct airborne raid

10 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Henry Antenor

Helicopter blades churn under an overcast sky as a CH-53E Super Stallions lands in a grassy field by an airstrip. The back door opens and a platoon of Marines and sailors dash a hundred meters from under the back of the helicopter. After it the helicopter lifts back into the sky, the raiders platoon immediately turns their night vision optics and weaponstheir attention to on hostile -held facilities.

Marines and sailors with Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, simulated conducted a night raid to seizeon  a simulated enemy n opposing airfield and adjacent hostile-held buildings at anIe Shima A airfield onon Ie Shima Island, Okinawa, Mar.chMar. 10.

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st MEU, the air aviation combat element of the 31st MEU, transported the raiding raid force from ship to shore, using Super Stallion helicopterss and MV-22 Osprey aircrafts, with AV-8B Harrier fix-winged aircrafts jets supporting as guardsthe group with additional securityclose air support.

“I was a little nervous at first [because] it was my first helo raid taking off and landing from a ship – (but) I thought it was pretty cool,” said Lance Cpl. Brady K. Simon, an infantryman with Company GCo. G., BLT 2/5, 31st MEU, and a native of Orange County, Calif. “It was also my first time landing on a big airfield like that.”

Prior to the training event, a great amount of time and effort was put into preparation on every level; from the junior Marines scouring studying maps to imprint memorize the location of key objectives to memory, to platoon commanders and platoon sergeants getting accountability of vital gear and personnel while conducting rehearsals.

“Some key preparation was made to makemade this a success, which was different than how we normally do things ,” said Capt. Jason C. Copeland, company commander of Golf CompanyCo. G., BLT 2/5, 31st MEU, and a native of Roswell, N.M. “The Marines did very well. They did phenomenal in a place we’ve never been before. All we had was a map, but they understood their objectives, their gear and the plan.”

A platoon of Marines from Weapons CompanyCompany, BLT 2/5, 31st MEU, acted as the raiding raid force’s adversaries during the training event. Blank rounds were usedBoth sides used blank rounds to simulate the sounds of a fire fight to provide an element of realism  during the scenariotraining eventas the raiding force engaged their objectives.

The assault kicked off with 60mm mortars and M240G medium machine guns suppressing the enemy, so the advancing party could move forward with less opposition. M1161 Internally Transportable Vehicles blocked off the road, which to stymied  blockedprevented enemy reinforcementss from arriving to the enemy force’s aid.

Under the cover of night, the Marines utilized their night vision optics to their advantage and sweptsweep through the buildings as swift as the windand across roadways, subduing hostile forces along the way. The professionalism and proficiency of the force was told in the expediency they dispatched the opposition withThe professionalism and proficiency of the Marines was proven by the expedient completionswift execution of their mission; Tthe raid endedtook 30 minutes after the helicopters touched down.

“Usually, operations like this one, especially the one that tookwith the this extent of planning that this one did, takes a lot longer ,” said Sgt. Bryan S. Barrow, an infantry squad leader with Company GCo. G., BLT 2/5, 31st MEU, and a native of Bissbee , Ariz. “I think this mission was really good for the Marines, it kept them thinking on their feet. It was good for the junior Marines who will be future leaders.”It was a good experience as to how these operations are conducted.”

At the end of the raid, the Marines posted security until Super Stallions and Ospreys arrived to extract pick them up and fly them back to the USS BHR.

The 31st MEU is currently conducting amphibious integration training alongside PHIBRON-11 while deployed for its regularly scheduled Spring Patrol.


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit