Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Raymond H. Currey, 21, from Parkersburg W.V. loads a magazine into his rifle after emptying his previous one on enemy personnel during a simulated raid on Catalina Island July 23. For many of the Marines it was their first time training on the island, making the raid a more realistic experience by working on unfamiliar turf. The raid was carried out by Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2/4 to prepare them for deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Raid skills improving with deployment months away

23 Jul 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Company G Marines departed USS Rushmore in a mechanized raid on San Clemente Island July 23, their second ship-to-shore raid as the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit works up to deployment.

The company – one of four that make up Battalion Landing Team 2/4, the MEU’s ground combat element – departed the ship in tracked amphibious vehicles, hit the shore and drove to the island objective.

“You can tell things are being coordinated better between us and the track guys,” said Lance Cpl. Caleb D. Eggert, 22, from Tupelo, Miss. “The whole process of getting to shore is getting faster each time.”

Rounding out the Marine air-ground task force, AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters provided close-air support over the raid site.

“For being a man on the ground, there’s no better feeling than knowing I have helicopters and light-armored vehicles and who knows what else to back me up if I need it,” said  Sgt. Michael M. Elder, 24, from Edmond, Okla.

Most of the Marines were on unfamiliar turf on the island, unlike Camp Pendleton’s artificial urban environments “where everyone knows exactly how everything’s laid out,” said Lance Cpl. Raymond H. Currey, 21, from Parkersburg W.Va. “It’s not like you’re going to go to a village in Afghanistan and know where all the alleyways lead to. Going somewhere new makes it all a lot more realistic.”

The Marines rushed from the vehicles into scores of cactus, which covered much of the raid site and required extra caution.

“The terrain really got in the way on this one. The cactus distracted us at times,” said Currey. “I’d get more focused on thinking ‘Oh, my leg hurts. There’s a cactus sticking out of it.’”

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.

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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.

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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.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.

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