Photo Information

Marines with 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, use team combat tactics to maneuver to their extraction point after taking notional enemy contact during a Reconnaissance and Surveillance patrol at Fort Greely, Alaska, August 12, 2014. Bravo-1 used the unique terrain and vegetation in Alaska to conduct training R and S training in an environment completely different from what they’re accustomed to.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley

Bravo-1 takes R&S to Alaska

27 Aug 2014 | Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley 1st Marine Division

Marines and sailors with 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion recently completed a 12 day Deployment for Training (DFT) trip to Fort Greely, Alaska, where they performed various types of platoon level training and supported elements of Exercise Red Flag from August 5-17. Bravo-1 used the opportunity of a different landscape and terrain to work on skills they practice regularly aboard Camp Pendleton, but there it was different.

While at Fort Greely the platoon completed a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) package they could do almost anywhere on Pendleton, but the unique terrain and weather conditions presented to them in Alaska gave the training a boost in value.

Reconnaissance and Surveillance missions allow recon teams to infiltrate clandestinely in an area past the forward line of troops and gain information that might prove useful for later operations. According to Capt. John Garlasco, Bravo-1 platoon commander, R&S is a large part of what Reconnaissance Marines are trained for.

“Reconnaissance and Surveillance is our bread and butter really, whether it’s urban reconnaissance, rural reconnaissance, vehicle reconnaissance, pretty much gathering information which gets turned into intelligence for a maneuver element,” said Garlasco. 
These types of patrols allow the operating forces to see what they’re really up against and see things from where an overt force simply couldn’t go.

“We take photos and send back imagery, reports and near real-time video to the commander so they can have a better perspective of what’s actually happening on the ground vice some aerial asset looking down on the target; they get the human perspective,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Homestead, Bravo-1 platoon sergeant.

Bravo-1’s R and S training mission in Alaska was seemingly simple and quick, avoid possible enemy threats and gather information on the enemy situation, but the Alaska terrain complicated things a bit. What could have been a three hour movement turned into six.

“The environment that they are in here is dramatically different than Camp Pendleton or anywhere else that we’ve been as a platoon. They’re able to take into consideration the terrain, the weather, the local population; and all these elements have to be factored into how close or how far away they need to get to their objective and how quick or slow they can move through the terrain without being detected,” said Garlasco. 

The platoon’s command agreed that these conditions invoked a valuable training opportunity and created a reference point for future training and operations that might carry Marines into comparable locations.

“The more environments we can expose ourselves to prior to deployment, the more capable and ready we are for wherever we get called to do any action throughout the globe,” said Homestead.
Company B is scheduled to deploy with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit early next year and uses training like this in hopes of boosting their global readiness for any call the Marine Corps may need them to answer.

1st Marine Division