Photo Information

Amphibious assault vehicles lay in a defensive position Aug. 19 as Marines with Company G wait to conduct a night raid. The raid was the final training exercise for Battalion Landing Team 2/4 before it deploys with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Unit's CertEx ends with large-scale raid

21 Aug 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines with Company G took on their final test before deploying by leading an assault through a nighttime mechanized raid here Aug. 20.

The raid took place while Battalion Landing Team 2/4, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s ground-combat element, was on its third training period at sea before deploying.

Company G began its raid departing USS Rushmore in tracked amphibious assault vehicles riding onto the shores here.

Once ashore, the Marines established defensive positions, and spent two days planning movements and practicing tactics.

“You have to know what’s going to happen and where everyone is going to be,” said Lance Cpl. Travis L. Kilgore, 21, from Anacortes, Wash. “You don’t want to end up shooting another Marine. There’s a higher chance of that happening with this raid going on at night.”

The Marines loaded into their tracked vehicles at sunset and stayed inside for four hours, waiting for darkness.

The raid was larger than previous operations the Marines had done since their pre-deployment training began in January.

As the raid played out, an additional company, Company F, and three tanks moved through the town alongside Company G.

“This is good because if this happens for real, there’s going to be Marines from all over the MEU getting involved,” said 2nd Lt. Gerald I. Noe, 33, from Erie, Colo. “Most of the time we’re training as squads, or platoons or as a company,”

Marines moved through the town as planned; however, casualties, random civilians and simulated explosions detonating on a regular basis added some confusion.

“The confusion gets minimized through our small-unit leadership,” said Noe. “It’s the small units’ actions that make a huge impact on mission success.”

The Marines started at one end of the town and moved through each room of every building, ensuring the entire town was secured and cleared of enemy forces.

“We would take a building and then the next squad would take the building after that,” said Kilgore. “Basically we were playing leapfrog.”

After months of training, the Marines of the 11th MEU have no more exercises, only a deployment ahead of them.

aav , Golf , FOX , blt , erie , colo. , hometown

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