Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 22, 2007)?Cpl. Jose L. Aguilar, a Buena Park, Ca. native, screams, ?Shift left!? as his squad conducts support by fire for an advancing assault element. Marines from Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted mechanized raids on numerous simulated enemy positions May 21-25. Aguilar is 3rd Squad leader, 1st Platoon.

Photo by Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

BLT 1/5 gears up to fight, rolls into mech raids

25 May 2007 | Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The faint glimmer of the moon was the only light in the sky as the 26 ton assault amphibian vehicles rolled along the dusty path, churning up everything in the way of their powerful tracks, as Marines inside anxiously waited for the ramp to lower, releasing them to close with and destroy the enemy.

The wait ended and the Marines of Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, launched out of the tracks May 24 and assaulted their target quickly and efficiently.

The training scenario, hosted by Special Operations Training Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, is one of many exercises that will be evaluated in the next few months as the 11th MEU gets closer to completing its certification evaluation and deploying in support of combatant commanders global force presence requirement.

“The purpose of the mechanized raids is to validate and establish standard operating procedures for Bravo Company,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin H. Shelton, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the raids section, SOTG, I MEF.

The company planned and executed a one day and one night raid during the week. They also practiced breaching techniques, building clearing drills, escalation of force procedures and setting up blocking points, most of which were used during the raids. Capt. Daniel J. Thomas, the Bravo Co. commander, said the training served many functions and affects all levels of the MEU.

“It gets everyone involved from the commanding officer to the Marines on the ground,” said the Oakdale La. native. “The raids familiarized the Marines with the mechanized infantry teams that they will be working with in the future. It gave the Marines an opportunity to develop the skills they need to carry out a mechanized assault.”

Thomas also stressed the importance of exposing new Marines to the vital role that they play on the battlefield.

“The backbone of the Marine Corps is the lance corporal and below,” he said. “They have to make on the spot decisions. All the planning at the higher levels is supported by the Marines on the ground and the raids were a great opportunity for them to see the impact of what goes into completing a mission.”

Pfc. William T. Hunter, a rifleman with 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon has only been with Bravo Co. for four months and said almost everything he learned during the training evolution was new.
“I’ve never ridden in an AAV before,” he said. “I learned new room clearing techniques that I think will help me out the most, especially if we go to Iraq.”

Lance Cpl. Michael J. Medina, 1st squad leader, 2nd Platoon, was thankful for the opportunity to take his squad to the field.

“This is the first time we have worked with Amtracks in an urban environment as a squad,” said Medina, a Los Angeles native. “We have a lot of new Marines in our unit, so it was a learning experience, but we worked in a very expedient manner. We now know exactly what we need to do to be proficient."

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography