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2nd Marine Division

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Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Operating ‘Swift, Silent, Deadly’

By Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez | 2nd Marine Division | March 05, 2014

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Lance Cpl. Blake Thoreso, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, patrols on foot during a training exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Reconnaissance teams operate in small teams to observe and report to higher commands the enemy’s location, troop size, equipment, routine and uniforms, in order to paint a picture for key leaders to make effective and precise decisions when choosing the best method for closing with and destroying the enemy.

Lance Cpl. Blake Thoreso, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, patrols on foot during a training exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Reconnaissance teams operate in small teams to observe and report to higher commands the enemy’s location, troop size, equipment, routine and uniforms, in order to paint a picture for key leaders to make effective and precise decisions when choosing the best method for closing with and destroying the enemy. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Corporal Conner Reese, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, stands guard while other Marines prepare to move on foot to their observation posts roughly five miles away during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. During a mission in a hostile environment, half of the reconnaissance team stands guard while the other half conceals their parachutes to avoid being detected by enemy forces present in the immediate area.

Corporal Conner Reese, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, stands guard while other Marines prepare to move on foot to their observation posts roughly five miles away during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. During a mission in a hostile environment, half of the reconnaissance team stands guard while the other half conceals their parachutes to avoid being detected by enemy forces present in the immediate area. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Corporal Tyler Ring, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, stands guard while his team regrouped after inserting by parachute, and before moving out on a foot patrol during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Moving more than five miles through the wet, muddy swamplands took the Marines approximately 11 hours to complete.

Corporal Tyler Ring, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, stands guard while his team regrouped after inserting by parachute, and before moving out on a foot patrol during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Moving more than five miles through the wet, muddy swamplands took the Marines approximately 11 hours to complete. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Master Sgt. Brad Dean, the jump master for Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, signals the altititude level to Marines waiting to jump from the back of a V-22 Osprey Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Two different groups of Marines jumped; one group jumped with a static line from 1,500 feet and the other completed a free-fall jump from 13,000 feet, using the High Altitude Low Openeing method.

Master Sgt. Brad Dean, the jump master for Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, signals the altititude level to Marines waiting to jump from the back of a V-22 Osprey Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Two different groups of Marines jumped; one group jumped with a static line from 1,500 feet and the other completed a free-fall jump from 13,000 feet, using the High Altitude Low Openeing method. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, parachute during a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Marines jumped in sticks of six-to-eight man teams.

Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, parachute during a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Marines jumped in sticks of six-to-eight man teams. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Sergeant Trent Endicott (left), a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gets his parachute apparatus checked one last time by Master Sgt. Brad Dean(right), the jumpmaster, before entering a V-22 Osprey for a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Endicott is part of a new team being formed, known as Delta Detachment, for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s  upcoming deployment in 2015.

Sergeant Trent Endicott (left), a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gets his parachute apparatus checked one last time by Master Sgt. Brad Dean(right), the jumpmaster, before entering a V-22 Osprey for a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Endicott is part of a new team being formed, known as Delta Detachment, for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s upcoming deployment in 2015. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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A Marine with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, parachutes to the ground with his rucksack below him during a three-day, training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Once on the ground, the Marines regrouped and patrolled more than five miles to their objective to observe enemy forces for three days and two nights. The exercise tested the Marines’ ability to observe and report from clandestine locations around an enemy stronghold.

A Marine with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, parachutes to the ground with his rucksack below him during a three-day, training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Once on the ground, the Marines regrouped and patrolled more than five miles to their objective to observe enemy forces for three days and two nights. The exercise tested the Marines’ ability to observe and report from clandestine locations around an enemy stronghold. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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A Marine, with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, checks his altimeter when preparing to exit the back of a V-22 Osprey during a jump exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The altimeter shows the altitude when free falling so the operator can safely deploy his parachute in time.

A Marine, with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, checks his altimeter when preparing to exit the back of a V-22 Osprey during a jump exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The altimeter shows the altitude when free falling so the operator can safely deploy his parachute in time. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Reconnaissance Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, jump from the back of a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump before conducting a three-day exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The rehearsal jump re-familiarized Marines with jump procedures and helped each member of the team walk through his responsibility before jumping for the exercise a few hours later.

Reconnaissance Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, jump from the back of a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump before conducting a three-day exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The rehearsal jump re-familiarized Marines with jump procedures and helped each member of the team walk through his responsibility before jumping for the exercise a few hours later. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Reconnaissance Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, sit while waiting to board a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. For Reconnaissance Battalions, parachuting into a mission is another resource used for successful, undetected insertions.

Reconnaissance Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, sit while waiting to board a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump exercise Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. For Reconnaissance Battalions, parachuting into a mission is another resource used for successful, undetected insertions. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Corporal Conner Reese, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, heads toward the tree line during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Marines trekked more than five miles into the tree line with more than 100 pounds of gear.

Corporal Conner Reese, a reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, heads toward the tree line during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Marines trekked more than five miles into the tree line with more than 100 pounds of gear. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, board a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Reconnaissance Marines jumped twice in one day. One jump was only with a parachute, and the second jump was with a full combat load consisting of a weapon, rucksack and load bearing vest.

Marines with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, board a V-22 Osprey during a rehearsal jump Feb. 18, 2014 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Reconnaissance Marines jumped twice in one day. One jump was only with a parachute, and the second jump was with a full combat load consisting of a weapon, rucksack and load bearing vest. (Photo by Cpl. Austin Long)


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Sergeant Jesse Welch, an assistant team leader with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathers all of his gear after landing during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. When the Marines land they must immediately ready their weapon, get in contact with their team-members then pack and prepare the rest of the gear. The total weight of their gear is more than 100 pounds.

Sergeant Jesse Welch, an assistant team leader with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathers all of his gear after landing during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. When the Marines land they must immediately ready their weapon, get in contact with their team-members then pack and prepare the rest of the gear. The total weight of their gear is more than 100 pounds. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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A reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, floats down after jumping from a V-22 Osprey during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Some Marines inserted via static line jumping from an altitude around 1,500 feet. The warriors jumped with a complete combat load including a flak, kevlar, rifle and rucksack. Some even carried camera and radio equipment as part of their training scenario.

A reconnaissance man with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, floats down after jumping from a V-22 Osprey during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Some Marines inserted via static line jumping from an altitude around 1,500 feet. The warriors jumped with a complete combat load including a flak, kevlar, rifle and rucksack. Some even carried camera and radio equipment as part of their training scenario. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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Reconnaissance men with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, exit the back of a V-22 Osprey, from approximately 1,500 feet, during a field training exercise aboard Marne Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. The Marines jumped out of an aircraft as their way of insertion before heading more than 10 clicks into the tree line to reach their objective. The exercise took three days and two nights to complete.

Reconnaissance men with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, exit the back of a V-22 Osprey, from approximately 1,500 feet, during a field training exercise aboard Marne Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. The Marines jumped out of an aircraft as their way of insertion before heading more than 10 clicks into the tree line to reach their objective. The exercise took three days and two nights to complete. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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Sergeant Jesse Welch, an assistant team leader with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathers his parachute after jumping from out of a V-22 Osprey around 1,500 feet during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. After gathering all their gear, the team regrouped and advanced to the tree line where they traveled more than five miles.

Sergeant Jesse Welch, an assistant team leader with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathers his parachute after jumping from out of a V-22 Osprey around 1,500 feet during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. After gathering all their gear, the team regrouped and advanced to the tree line where they traveled more than five miles. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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Reconnaissance men with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, pack their parachutes after free falling from a V-22 Osprey during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Some Marines inserted through High Altitude Low Opening jumps, starting at a height of around 13,000 feet, and free falling to approximately 5,000 feet before releasing the canopy.

Reconnaissance men with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, pack their parachutes after free falling from a V-22 Osprey during a field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. Some Marines inserted through High Altitude Low Opening jumps, starting at a height of around 13,000 feet, and free falling to approximately 5,000 feet before releasing the canopy. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez)


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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --

Marines and sailors with Force Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, used jumping out of a V-22 Osprey as their method of infiltration during a three-day, field exercise starting Feb. 18, 2014, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
 
“The main purpose of the mission was to rehearse reconnaissance and surveillance operations,” said Sgt. Michael Blair, an assistant team leader with the unit, and native of Franklinton, La.  “Primarily what [the mission] entails is being able to clandestinely get eyes on the objective and send a report on it, with pictures and information of any and all activities that are going on with the objective.”
 
Marines used two different styles of jumping from the aircraft to conduct their insertion, static line and High Altitude Low Opening. A static line jump is when the static line cord is attached to one end of the aircraft and the other end to the top of the jumper's deployment bag, where the canopy is packed into. When the jumper exits the aircraft it causes the static line to pull the deployment bag out of the container, automatically releasing the canopy. The static line and deployment bag stay with the aircraft as the jumper leaves, and is pulled back into the aircraft by the crew. In the HALO jumps, the Marines open their parachutes at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time.
 
Static line jumpers exited the aircraft from around 1,500 feet in the air, and the HALO jumpers from around 12,000 feet.
 
“There is always that sense of realism when you are getting ready to jump out of an aircraft,” said Sgt. Collin Johansen, a point man from Midlothian, Texas. ”But once you actually jump and go through your procedures correctly, you remember your training and it all falls into place.”

Once the Marines landed, they immediately readied their rifles, pulled out a compass, radioed their location and began to pack their parachutes in order to regroup.

The tactically efficient men immediately continued to the next part of their mission and headed for the tree line, each carrying more than 100 pounds of gear.
 
“It was rough,” said Johansen. “We were patrolling through swamps where some parts were ankle deep to waist deep. Some parts we decided not to move through because it was chest deep and that is not really feasible while carrying a 100 pound rucksack.”
 
They spent hours finding the best route through the swamps and marshes to reach their next objective more than five miles away. Once the objective is reached, the Marines have to gather intelligence without being detected by a notional enemy.
 
The Marines’ mission included collecting and reporting intelligence of actions on a bridge that provided access inside the objective where opposing forces were based, as well as obtaining visual confirmation of the American hostages. Collecting intelligence can prove to be just as challenging as getting to the objective.
 
“The biggest thing is reporting, because it is a lot harder than it sounds. Getting eyes on the objective and sending up exactly what is going on; you have to paint a picture with your words. Unless you’re taking pictures but then you have to get a lot closer,” said Blair.
 
With the field exercise considered a success the Marines began their exfiltration from the mission.
 
“We met every single information requirement that was sent down by the command. We got pretty good pictures, which helped them out a lot,” said Blair of his team’s performance.

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