CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, participated in three helicopter-borne raid exercises here March 2-6.
The training was organized by I Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group as part of the unit’s upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“With the helos, you can go anywhere quick. And it’s intimidating for the enemy to see helos coming at them,” said Cpl. Andrew W. Bufkin, 25, from Dallas.
Raids, which are intelligence driven and done with a purpose, differ from more modern operations like patrolling or supporting the local populace in Iraq or Afghanistan. During a raid, Marines enter an area, complete an assignment and leave.
“When you’re out on patrol, you’re there for a presence,” said Bufkin “But on raids, you’re fast, you do what you have to, and you get out.”
Speed and constantly moving parts can make any raid confusing, so when things like simulated casualties occur, Marines at every level have to make critical decisions.
“Every Marine should be able to step up to a leadership role and still be successful,” said 1st Lt. Jerome H. Borden, 26, from Crowsby, Minn. “If Marines fill the jobs of the guys next to them, we should be able to handle anything.”
Training with helicopters is necessary if the Marines are expected to react without hesitation. Marines will likely begin any raid from ship. Moving a raid force from ship to shore is a capability few vehicles have. And of those vehicles, helicopters are the fastest.
“When you’re arriving on a helo, you can fast rope or rappel into anywhere quickly,” said Lance Cpl. John E. Hoban, 20, from Los Angeles.
At the raid sites, Marines employed sensitive site exploitation – documenting, photographing and searching individuals – to gather as much enemy information as possible.
“We won’t be in an area for long, but we still need to learn as much as we can from what’s there,” said Lance Cpl. Russell S. Holmes, 20, from Dallas.