CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines have always been ready to move forward at a moment’s notice, something that can only be done with a wide range of skills.
The Magnificent Bastards of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, took part in motorized raid training here Feb. 16-20 in preparation for a deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year.
Raids differ from more common operations, like patrolling and convoys, in that during a raid, Marines enter an area, complete an assignment and leave, unlike an occupying force that stays to build strong relationships with locals.
“We’re learning to operate as a raid force instead of a rifle company,” said 1st Lt. Jared L. Reddinger, Co. F commander.
The company practiced three raids throughout the five-day course. During one raid, the Marines were inserted and extracted by helicopter. Many Marines in the company have had the opportunity to train with helicopters, and for some, it was their first time flying in one.
“I hadn’t ridden on one, so it was a great to get more used to working with the helos,” said Pfc. Scott A. Lusk, 19, from Mitchellville, Iowa. “It was good for us newer guys to get our jitters out about riding in them.”
Training continued after dark as the Marines conducted one raid using night-vision goggles.
“You have no peripheral vision when you’re running around with the NVGs,” said Cpl. Nathan T. Baum, 24, from Dayton, Ohio. “Your depth perception is a little different too, so it can add a little confusion.”
Preparing for a MEU deployment requires being ready for everything when there is no particular assignment.
“We’re preparing for what we’re going to do: anything,” said Lusk. “I might not know where I’ll be going, but I know I’ll definitely be better at my job after this.”
The raids helped a lot of Marines understand their roles as individuals, working as part of a larger picture. The Marines worked together, each with a different task, to accomplish the same mission.
“Usually we’ll practice one skill at a time, like house clearing or fire-team rushes, but seeing it all work together brings your understanding of it to a new level,” said Baum. “Knowing how important your role is makes you feel less like a little pawn and a lot more essential to the raids.”