Photo Information

Marines with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, advance up a hill while receiving simulated fire from enemy forces during an exercise here March 4. The Marines conducted helicopter raid training here March 2-6 in preparation for an upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Helo raids widen capabilities

6 Mar 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

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.

Marine Corps News

Colonel James W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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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.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit