Photo Information

Crew chief Sgt. Michael Richard with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced) flies in a UH-1Y Huey while Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit retake a simulated pirated vessel here Oct. 1. The squadron serves as the aviation combat element for the unit. The unit embarked the amphibious assault ship Makin Island, the amphibious transport dock New Orleans and the dock landing ship Pearl Harbor in San Diego Sept. 28. The unit is participating in its final exercise before deploying in November.

Photo by Sgt. Elyssa Quesada

Maritime raiders retake hijacked ship from simulated pirates

1 Oct 2011 | Public Affairs 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s maritime raid force boarded the cargo vessel ATLS to retake it from simulated pirates miles off Southern California's coast Oct. 1, while helicopters provided fire support overhead.

From USS Makin Island, the unit’s aviation combat element launched four of its skid-landing helicopters: a pair of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and two UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. From USS New Orleans, the raid force was launched in a Navy small attack craft and Marine CH-46E helicopters.

The Marines searched the ship, apprehended actors portraying pirates, seized automatic weapons and returned the vessel to its owner.

“This is the type of joint mission that improves interoperability and provides the MEU with an exceptional maritime raid capability,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Compton, the maritime raid force’s first sergeant. “The Marines decisive and thorough actions enabled them to complete their task and conduct a successful mission.”

The 11th MEU embarked the amphibious assault ship Makin Island, the amphibious transport dock New Orleans and the dock landing ship Pearl Harbor Sept. 28 in San Diego to participate in the MEU’s final two-week exercise before deploying in November.

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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