Navy special boat team prepares locally for counter-drug ops abroad
As waves tossed two small assault boats around, the Sailors aboard were on watch for movement on the water as their small vessels made their way to the insertion point.
Cold water splashed over the walls of the boats, but the Sailors didn’t deviate from their course. They stood ready to deploy into the wet marshlands, where intelligence informed them of the location of a small weapons cache.
Their mission was to quietly insert, recover the cache and get out undetected without incident. Navy Riverine Squadron 2, Detachment 22 succeeded in accomplishing the mission. After the ground team recovered three rifles buried under some dead shrubs and sticks, they moved back to the boats for extraction.
Although this was just a training scenario the team used for their upcoming deployment, this could easily become a true-life scenario these Sailors face while deployed to South America within the next year, said Petty Officer 1st Class Dwayne Brown, operations specialist with the riverine team. The team will be conducting anti-drug trafficking operations in multiple countries thoughout South America.
The boat team conducted several training exercises on the waterways surrounding Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic and Cherry Point during their trip here from Little Creek, Va., Dec. 10-14.
“The land and waterways around this area are similar to what we will be seeing on deployment,” said Brown. “That is the reason for choosing this location. We can give these Sailors real-life training with real-world similarities to the locations we will see in South America.”
MCOLF Atlantic provides the Sailors with a quiet location for training in an austere environment. They constructed shelters and tents, and there is very little to no cell phone reception, putting the Sailors in a state of seclusion for this training.
“We want them to get use to this type of place,” said Brown. “That way it will not be a shock to them while on deployment.”
During the training for the deployment, the Sailors found themselves dealing with different weather patterns including freezing winds and sharp, stinging rainfall.
“A lot of the weather patterns we deal with make the waters rough and choppy,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Oyler, an engineer and half gunner for the squadron. “We have to be prepared for any type of scenario. We have to be on alert for enemy contact, weather and even water depth.”
The team fought the conditions, the cold water and high winds to a successful end to their training.
“Anytime we can come out and get some great training on the water is a great step towards mission accomplishment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Cearley, the executive officer of Riverine Squadron 2.
Article by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point