MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- All was a quiet at Combat Town 25 on the eve of July 18 until assault amphibious vehicles rolled in, dropped their ramps and the rush of boots on the ground began surrounding the town.
The night sky lit up with muzzle flashes from the weapons of Marines and sailors of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, as they began a mechanized night raid.
Echo Co. arrived in AAVs from 3rd Assault Amphibian Bn., as they trained with Special Operations and Training Group for the raid.
The exercise prepared the unit for an upcoming deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said 1st Lt. William Long, the Echo Co. executive officer.
The company also performed two-day raids as part of the training package.
“A raid consists of deliberate attacks to destroy or seize some objective followed by an immediate planned withdrawal,” said Long, a native of Houston.
Before Echo. Co. assaulted the town, air assets including the AH-1Z Super Cobra initiated a notional bomb strike on the town.
“We initiated notional air strikes on the enemy’s air defense, followed by bomb runs on enemy bunkers,” Long said. “This sets conditions for the company to begin the raid.”
Marines surrounded the town within minutes of the first AAV dropping its ramp to unload the infantry. A platoon methodically cleared buildings of notional training combatants in order to set up a blocking force around a high-valued individual hiding in a building in the middle of the town.
“Every Marine needs to have violence in their action, and they need to be able to control the chaos during a raid,” said Staff Sgt. Alex E. Ramirez, a platoon sergeant with Echo Co.
An assault platoon took a simulated casualty as they attacked the building. He was quickly taken to a casualty evacuation point after a fellow Marine performed lifesaving aid.
Real-life stresses from multiple sources in a combat environment always play a role on how well Marines can evacuate a casualty.
Learning how to manage that stress in training gives Marines an advantage when they’re out on a combat deployment, said Ramirez, a 33-year-old native of Edinburg, Texas.
“The training makes them realize that practice under stress does help in overall mission accomplishment, which includes bringing every Marine home,” he said.
The assault platoon also used tactical site exploitation techniques to collect evidence from the area after eliminating their high-valued individual, to simulate gathering intelligence for follow-on missions.
As the gunfight died down, the company of Marines disappeared into the AAVs just as quickly as they assaulted the town.
“This prepares us for a fast-paced mission that we might be tasked for, and it also lets our Marines know that we need to be well-rounded physically and mentally to accomplish that mission,” Ramirez said.
The mechanized raid is part of the training package conducted by the Marines and sailors of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, to prepare for their deployment with the 31st MEU.
“The Marines were outstanding,” Long said. “Squad leaders and team leaders drove the company and platoon throughout the raid training package, and their actions ensured the success of the company in each raid.”