22nd MEU trains in raids with blades

3 Aug 2005 | Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson

Marines from Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, enhanced their attack capabilities in a live fire training exercise here Aug. 3 by incorporating a helicopter into what would have been an ordinary raid.

Capt. Phil D. Cushman, officer in charge of the Special Operations Training Group raids branch, said helio raids are designed for quick insertion and extraction so Marines can attack an objective and get back out before the enemy knows what hit them. Along with the ride in and out of the point of attack, the training evolution emphasized realism.

“I’m a firm believer that live fire is always an important part of training,” said Cushman, “when they get into country, that’s what they’ll be dealing with, so this kind of gets them in the mood.”

Lance Cpl. William E. Amos III, from Annapolis, Md., added that the raid alone wasn’t the only test to his skill. 

“We’ve been out in the field for ten or eleven days now,” he said, “It’s harder with that psychological difference because you get worn out after sleeping in the rain and doing raids all the time.”

However, Amos reaffirmed that he and his squad were ready to rise to the challenge, which they did when they hit the ground and charged more than 500 meters toward a bunker on the opposite side of the range.

“We did a good job with our security aspect.  It was really hot, but we worked through it and we pursued,” said Amos.

When the Marines were within 50 meters of their objective, they took a knee to survey the situation and sent in individual teams push forward to the objective.

“We provided cover fire while we had a team clear the bunker system and find whatever was in there.  We came up to provide security for them, and then just waited for the helio to come pick us up again,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy W. Coupe, 20, from Manaway, Ohio.

Aside from the obvious training objectives, the Marines built upon their warrior ethos and reinforced their unit cohesiveness.

“I know my squad is going to be there for me and they know how to put rounds downrange,” said Amos, “Stuff like this isn’t easy, but I’m in good company.”