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

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.

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Colonel Jim W. Lively
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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit