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BLT Marines overcome mountainous terrain

5 Oct 2002 | Cpl. Jeff Sisto 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

When the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) entered the Multi National Brigade South Area of Operations in Kosovo, there was an undeniable obstacle before them - miles and miles of mountainous terrain. 

While participating in Operation Dynamic Response 2002, the Marines of Company E, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, have come to know this obstacle well, challenging their bodies, minds, and unit cohesion through adverse weather and difficult terrain.  Ultimately, Echo Co. has done what Marines do best - accomplish their mission.

"We have been conducting routine patrols in the mountains and through the villages trying to enforce the policies set by KFOR," said 1st Lt. Jonathan Hamilton, executive officer, Echo Co., "We have already had five detainees."

This is certainly an accomplishment, considering the vast area to be covered and after a week of torrential rain and thick fog. They have also contended with a multitude of steep hills on their daily patrols. Yet, the Marines of Echo Co. have remained diligent in manning several observation posts strategically placed to spot any illegal activity and swiftly acting on it.

"We are mostly looking for the illegal border crossers," said Lance Cpl. Brayton Mosher, radio technician operator, from Dolgebille, N.Y. "But we will check out anything that looks suspicious."

After a few days, detachments from each platoon arrive to relieve the men on post and continue the daily patrols through the mountains. Upholding the discipline of an infantryman is continually stressed to ensure a successful patrol.

"My job is to make sure we maintain our dispersion, noise discipline, hand and arm signals, and what route we take," said Cpl. Rolland Fayssaux, assaultman and squad leader, from Torrance, Calif., "When the weather is bad those are the things we need to focus on and continue to do."

"The terrain is difficult, especially after all the rain," said Fayssaux. "But we have trained in Bridgeport, (Calif.) and know how to apply our techniques to a mountainous environment."

"I think this is a great experience for our Marines," said Capt. Winston Heron, Echo Co. commander. "Consistently operating in adverse weather has brought them closer and shown them that they can do it - they can execute."