Marines and sailors with Company K, with Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed the first phase of its training to become certified at performing a mechanized raid Oct. 19, 2012. Under the eyes of Special Operations Training Group instructors and evaluators from the II Marine Expeditionary Force, the company’s Marines and sailors raided targets of varying sizes and circumstances, utilizing the versatility and firepower of tanks and amphibious assault vehicles assigned to the MEU.
“As part of the MEU, it’s part of our certification to be able to conduct this type of operations,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Quigley, 2nd Platoon commander from Gaithersburg, Md. “It’s a raid force comprised of an assault element, a security element, and a support element. We have an entire track platoon, which has more heavy machine guns than an infantry battalion,” said Quigley. The raid package also incorporates the MEU’s detachment of M1 Abrams main battle tanks. These assets allow the company to be a heavy-hitting, fast-moving raid force, capable of delivering an incredible amount of firepower.
The raid package itself is scalable to the threat or importance of the objective. From the heavy package, comprised of the full strength of the company and its mechanized assets, to the light package, operating as a quick force stripped of tanks for increased flexibility, the force can adjust for any circumstances.
“There’s been a lot of solid training in one package,” said Quigley. Covering everything from the basic operating procedures for breaching a building, neutralizing all resistance and marking it clear, to overall operation planning, briefing, and execution, the exercise included training for every Marine in the company, from the Marines taking the objective to the officers planning the raid. “Marking rooms, marking buildings, clearing rooms, clearing buildings, enemy prisoner of war handling procedures, tactical site exploitation procedures, moving from the objective rally point to the objective, utilizing tracks to get from point A to point B – things of that nature,” said Sgt. Warren Edwards, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon from Lewiston, Maine. “That’s what the package facilitates. It facilitates consistently going out, developing the muscle memory for the Marines that we’re going to need when we’re actually out there,” said Quigley.
“It’s also given us a good opportunity to work with the enablers,” said Quigley. There are other, less visible assets present at work to increase the effectiveness of the raid. “We’ve had two weeks of working and building the relationship with Marines from other military occupations specialties that we wouldn’t necessarily work with on a regular basis.” Engineers and explosive ordnance demolition Marines, intelligence and assaultmen, combat camera and public affairs Marines all play a role in securing and exploiting the objective. All of these assets, allow the raid to operate on a number of levels, or to be the most effective use of the MEU’s forces.
Company K will continue to acquire proficiency in the martial art of conducting a mechanized raid, taking part in other raids as their pre-deployment training goes on. The company, falling under BLT 3/2, is reinforcing the 26th MEU, currently slated to deploy in 2013.
Article by Cpl. Michael S. Lockett, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit