MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A platoon of infantry Marines patrolled down a dusty trail, secured a base of operations and waited hours before receiving orders to conduct another patrol.
Another platoon of Marines hid in the brush and ambushed the patrolling Marines. After being ambushed, the platoons switched roles and repeated the process.
Basic drills like this were performed throughout the day Aug. 11, as the Marines of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division trained during a larger, battalion-level exercise to prepare for their upcoming deployment with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“With any unit you have to have brilliance in the basics,” said Capt. Jeremy Wilkinson, the operations officer for the battalion. “This is really getting down to the ‘nitty, gritty’ of teaching the Marines attacking, patrolling, offensive and defensive operations.”
The company primarily serves as the battalion’s vertical assault element, meaning they insert and extract from areas by helicopter. As a result of this fact, the Marines could spend a great deal of time on the ground without the aid of vehicles during actual operations.
“The helo-borne assault capability is a means of insertion, but when we get on the ground, tactics are still tactics,” said Capt. Patrick Reddick, the company’s commanding officer.
The company’s platoons spent the day patrolling and conducting offensive training. The Marines also practiced the procedures involved with inserting and extracting from helicopters.
The battalion-level field exercise, or FEX, was conducted to help integrate various units scheduled to attach with the 24th MEU in September. Once attached to the MEU the battalion will form into the Battalion Landing Team.
Lt. Col. David Sosa, the commanding officer of the battalion, highlighted the fact the FEX was a way for these units to start getting used to working together. “First and foremost, it gets them used to working with each other; its teamwork that’s most important,” said Sosa.
“(The training) lets them focus on their fundamental skills - shoot, move and communicate. As units, it helps them integrate a bit better so they’re much more effective and as we progress from here,” Sosa added.