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2nd Marine Division

Photo by Cpl. Randall A. Clinton

24th MEU Marines raid SOTG compound, complete course

5 Oct 2007 | Cpl. Randall A. Clinton

They’re coming.

Whether thundering down the road or creeping up from the water’s edge, the Marines are coming and they just got extirpative.

Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, completed the II Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group mechanized raid course here Oct. 5. During this course, the BLT perfected its ability to conduct raids from assault amphibian vehicles and solidified unit cohesion.

“It’s a rush. Its pretty nice rolling in on something big, being helped out with a lot of backup, getting us there and getting us out fast – its pretty nice,” said Pfc. Ryan Haley, squad automatic weapon gunner, BLT 1/6.

Focused on completing the mission and leaving the area rather than occupying, a raid attack must be forceful and quick, said Sgt. Louis Pope, instructor, II MEF, SOTG.

“With a conventional attack, you may be attacking a platoon or a company dug in, however, in a raid you are looking for useable information that can help the bigger picture,” said Capt. Charles O’Neil, company commander, B Company, BLT 1/6.

Following that theme, their commander laid out the keys to success.

“Aggression and initiative are two of the baseline qualities necessary to accomplish a raid, a mission, an attack, whatever the case may be,” said O’Neil. “A plan can go south quickly after crossing the line of departure, but if you know the basics such as the mission and the commanders intent and come with aggression and initiative, there is no doubt that the friendlies, the home team, can accomplish its mission.”

While teaching the Marines advanced raid techniques, SOTG allowed the unit to develop its’ own style.

“Each unit is going to have their own standard operating procedures and they are going to work and train the way they feel is going to accomplish the mission better. We are not here to judge what they are going to be training and what their standard operating procedure is going to be,” explained Pope, a former 1/6 squad leader. “We are here to help develop them and give them scenarios to refine what their standard operating procedure is going to be.”

By making the Marines think through each objective, the training can be adapted to a wide array of environments.

“The biggest thing this training helps is learning how to work with each other – knowing how the other guy works, knowing how the man to your left and to your right is thinking,” explained Cpl. William Ash, fire team leader, BLT 1/6. “I can trust the guy behind me to cover me without having to look over my shoulder, that’s the biggest thing they are going to take away from this.”

For Haley, it meant learning how to apply initiative on the battlefield, “going with my initiative and doing what I think I should do without second guessing myself.”

For the junior Marines of the battalion, some participating in their first field operation with the unit, applying the words of O’Neil while gaining confidence in each others abilities may be the greatest benefit from the training.

Bad guys beware, because when the 24th MEU needs to conduct a raid the Marines of BLT 1/6 are coming.