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Force Reconnaissance Marines with Force Detachment Delta, II Marine Expeditionary Force ride on combat rubber raiding crafts (CRRC), small inflatable boats, while conducting amphibious inserts during a certification exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, May 5. The operation simulated the Marines inserting off the coast of a foreign country to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance patrols.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jared Lingafelt

Force Recon conducts CERTEX

12 May 2014 | Lance Cpl. Jared Lingafelt

Marines from Force Reconnaissance Detachment Delta, II Marine Expeditionary Force, completed a certification exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, April 29th through May 9th.

The reconnaissance Marines performed clandestine amphibious inserts and high-altitude high-opening parachute operations, certifying the Marines for an upcoming deployment with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“This is their final certification after working up for the better part of two years if you include their individual training,” said Lt. Col. Robert Revoir, battalion commander of 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. 

The Marines completed the certification exercise to assess their ability to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance patrols in a clandestine environment.

A platoon of Marines traveled a total of 20 miles out to sea on combat rubber raiding crafts, then began conducting amphibious reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

“The scenario for these objectives includes inserting off the coast of a foreign country,” said Revoir. “They went in to gather intelligence for the MEU on enemy positions, enemy dispositions, as well as a crisis scenario. Their jobs are to identify high value target individuals, their leadership and their location after they conduct a clandestine insert through amphibious means, as well as using high-altitude high-opening parachute capability.”

The Marines have spent years training to make each team member multifaceted while creating a highly trained and highly capable team of Marines.

Each team member has their own job to do within the team, said Capt. Nathan Willis, Force Reconnaissance Company Commander, II MEF. Most team members have in-depth medical training and other valuable skills, including diver, static line jump master, radio operator, sniper and more.
Reconnaissance Marines’ unique skill sets provide commanders with vital eyes and ears wherever and whenever needed.
“The MEU knows that before they go off on a mission, they have this fully trained product which is very valuable,” said Revoir.
The certification exercise required the Marines to use all of their skills, including high-altitude parachute operations to be successful during the exercise. 
Parachute operations are an important part of the reconnaissance mission, giving the Marines multiple insertion options onto the battlefield, said Master Sgt. Brad Dean, Force Reconnaissance Detachment Delta operations chief.
“This culminated the last six months of training, taking everything we have done, including ground and amphibious reconnaissance, all in one final certification exercise,” he added.
 The detachment consists of two platoons, comprised of roughly 50 Force Reconnaissance Marines, one of the first of its kind to deploy with the MEU.
“This is one of the first detachment type concepts that we have put on a MEU,” said Revoir. “It’s not the traditional 23 man group that we send, it’s now two platoons that are trained equally on these high end skills with one command element over the top of them.”

Deploying a detachment gives the MEU an independent and well capable force of highly trained war fighters.
“The benefit of bringing the detachment is we are self-supportive … as well as consolidating all of the reconnaissance support allows us to allocate resources to best meet mission requirements,” said Willis.
The Marines have spent months away from their homes and families, working hard to prepare for their upcoming deployment and the exercise, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“There are high expectations for these Marines, and we have been running on a very tight timeline,” said Willis. “I am very impressed with them. Throughout the operations, they provided an accurate picture, identified potential hostages on top of providing additional information such as what the compound looks like, and where they can breach. They are very resilient despite the tough times, tough weather and a tough winter.”