MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON. Calif. -- During the early
morning hours of July 9, 2013, the Marines of Alpha Company, 1st
Reconnaissance Battalion, inserted into Range 800. But, it wasn't a
typical trip to the field.
They set up a reconnaissance and surveillance post and marked the
enemy's position, capabilities and number of troops for a raid as
soon as they entered the range. Typically the reconnaissance company
would pass this information to an infantry battalion, but during
this raid exercise they proved they could take enemy objectives as
Sergeant Michael Dowell, a reconnaissance
Marine serving with Alpha Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion,
sights in his .50 caliber sniper rifle during a raid exercise here,
July 10, 2013. Dowell, 29, from Elko, Nev., serves as the sniper for
his team as well as the pointman. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Corey Dabney)
"Most of the time we are the eyes and ears of the
battlefield, but this week we are proving that we can also
attack and fight just as other infantry units," said Master
Sgt. David Jarvis, the operations chief serving with Alpha
Co., 1st Recon Bn.
After the Marines gathered their
information on the enemy, they teamed up with a mortar
platoon from 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and began
their assault by bombarding the enemy with indirect mortar
fire from the 81mm mortar system.
As the mortars
smothered the enemy objective, Alpha Co. began breaching the
enemy's defensive position. Dust and soil erupted into the
sky as the company blew their way through the enemy's
defenses with C-4 charges, bangalore torpedos and AT-4
antitank rockets. Snipers accurately fired at enemy targets
while machine gunners suppressed the enemy from afar with
their crew-served weapons while the recon team maneuver
around the enemy objective.
As the dust began to
settle on the battlefield that was riddled with holes and
destroyed targets, the Marines found weapons the enemy
planned to use against them and destroyed them. After one
final sweep, Alpha Co. decided the enemy objective had been
secure. Then, with a short break to review their training
objective, they resupplied ammunition and conducted the raid
"Everything came together beautifully," said
Jarvis, 36 from Portage, Wash. "We were able to combine all
our assets for this dynamic raid and build confidence and
The training not only built
confidence and unit cohesion, but it also proved the
reconnaissance company could add more capabilities to their
upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The raid exercise showed the company can be tasked with
conducting missions that cover a broader range than just
basic reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
"When we deploy, we need to be proficient in all areas so we
can complement whatever unit we are attached to," said
Staff. Sgt. Nicholas Busby, a reconnaissance team leader
serving with Alpha Co. "This was a way that we could show
that we can attack as a unit."
Busby, 27, from
Belleville, Ill., said he wants other units to look at
reconnaissance Marines as the "go-to guys" and doesn't want
to let the legacy down by not being able to seize enemy
objectives like basic infantry units.
Marines successfully completed the raids and showed they are
capable of executing assaults, thus being an important asset
to whichever unit they deploy with, said Busby. In this
case, the Marines will support 11th MEU.
want to be the force of choice when we deploy," Jarvis said.
"These Marines train hard to ensure no matter what mission
they are tasked with they are capable of completing it."
By USMC Cpl. Corey Dabney
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