CREEDS, Va. -- The raid was part of the 24th MEU’s Realistic Urban Training (RUT) exercise scheduled Jan. 5-20, which focuses on conducting off-base missions near the towns of Farmville and Creeds to prepare for the various operations they may conduct while deployed.
“An amphibious raid is one of the MEU mission essential tasks,” said Col. Jim Donnellan, Special Operations Training Group officer in charge. “(Col. Frank Donovan, 24th MEU commanding officer) elected to take this target down with a raid force platoon element with a security element. Anytime you can get those guys to integrate on a mission is a great opportunity.” The Marines launched from Fort Pickett on an MV-22 Osprey and a CH-53 Super Stallion. The recon Marines inserted through the forest next to their objective to watch and wait for the raid to begin. By the time the security element arrived recon was ready to roll onto the enemy. “It was kind of a large objective for such as small force, but they did well,” said Maj. Jeremy Dempsey, the officer in charge of SOTG’s Amphibious Raids Branch. While a whole BLT could take this objective, they would have a difficult time masking their approach. The Marines wanted this training opportunity to stress stealth and a rapid takedown, said Dempsey. “The BLT is a large force, when they are moving through a forest there is nothing stealthy about it,” he said. “(Recon) is smaller, faster. Their specialized training allows them to maneuver in this terrain so their abilities and their approach are very precise.” The Marines worked under some severely debilitating limitations but they found ways to surpass them and successfully complete the mission. In a real-world scenario, the Marines would have many more options; they could easily have broken fences, dropped grenades, cut power, leveled an enemy building, or sniped streetlights. Regardless, they completed the night’s training scenario with minimal complications. “It was a combined hit with 53’s,” said Donovan. “I didn’t want man-on-man fighting, that’s for the movies. We’ll use Hellfires or JDAMS and hit ‘em hard. “There are things they could do better, there’s always room to improve,” he said. “It’s the big movement, the mechanics of the MAGTF, that’s what I’m looking at. In that, they did a great job.” The Recon Marines experienced a blitz of training prior to this raid as they cycled through countless training scenarios in a short time to prepare for this deployment. They use these difficult scenarios in different locations to be able to support the MEU wherever they go, in the worst situations. The 24th MEU has a plan for training milestones during their upcoming deployment; however, no one can predict the next war, disaster or political uprising. Thus the MEU will deploy ready to face these inevitable situations, unpredictable times, and unknowns of the next threat. “It’s the enemy’s terrain on our terms,” said Donovan.