U.S ARMY BASE FORT A.P. HILL, Va. --
A convoy of Marine vehicles speed down a dirt road, kicking heavy dust into the air, making a trail reminiscent of the road runner. Sitting silently in the back of each vehicle are Marines on a mission, and most are playing it out in their minds before go time. Each vehicle grinds to a halt, and one-by-one each man leaps from the rear of the vehicle and takes a defensive position, let the training begin.
Marines with Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Bravo Company, navigated thick woodland terrain to a raid objective site during their first company-sized motorized raid Aug. 12.
During this raid, Marines convoyed to just outside their objective and tactically moved through a wooded area, until reaching the point of attack. Once the camp was secure and the mission objective reached, the Marines popped smoke and moved out.
“This exercise helped us maintain our abilities to be flexible and to be able to adapt and overcome anything that may come up and to be able to come up with alternate plans on the fly when something falls through, which in turn will help us accomplish the mission,” said 1st Lt. Derek J. Herrera, executive officer, Bravo Company, BLT 1/9, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Evaluators, who will further instruct the Marines on raids, were present to get an idea of where the Marines’ present abilities are and indentify strengths and weaknesses of the raid performed.
“We’re out here to see how they are before they come to us for the raid package,” said Staff Sgt. Shane M. Voskuhl, lead instructor, Assault Element, Amphibious Raid Section, Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “I feel that without having classes from us, they did a good job and accomplished their mission; there are some good points and some bad points that they will be able to work on before coming to the raid package.”
During the next couple of weeks, Marines will work on their weaknesses pertaining to conducting a raid. For most, the raid package will be an opportunity to sharpen their skills and leadership.
“With this raid package coming up, I’m looking forward to bouncing back and proving that we can do those individual actions inside the rooms, accomplish our mission without taking casualties and show them that we are the right choice in being the assault element,” said Sgt. Jeremy C. Cooney, platoon sergeant, 1st platoon, Bravo Company, BLT 1/9, 24th MEU.