Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Despite the sound of drums beating and people yelling, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, managed to keep the peace.
The Marines conducted foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training May 12-16 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“Non-combatant evacuation operations are the main goal for the Marines today,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Davis, the battalion commander. “Today, the unit is securing the site known as the American embassy and a landing zone for evacuation helicopters.”
The unit was assisting Americans in a foreign nation that had recently suffered a devastating natural disaster. By maintaining peace and assisting the locals with the needed supplies, the battalion was able to better provide security and allow entrance into the embassy for American citizens.
“Marines within the battalion were called upon to give aid to the local government and to give needed supplies to the natives,” said 1st Lt. Brian M. Anderson, a future operations planner with 6th Marine Regiment.
The locals, played by role players, protested the evacuation of the American citizens by forming lines to blockade the entry point to the embassy and also banged on drums to sustain a constant level of disruption. The Americans tried to gain access to the embassy, but the locals made it a difficult task.
“The training is allowing the unit to get used to the kinds of missions that may be needed of them during their upcoming deployment,” said Davis.
“The mission for this training is to aid in security and evacuating American citizens designated by the ambassador to depart,” said Anderson.
During the evacuation, the Marines guided the Americans to a processing table where their credentials were checked and then they were placed in groups of eight to be evacuated in trucks.
Anderson served as the action officer for this training, and took part in the planning of the scenario and overall conduct of the training.
“This is the culminating event of the unit’s training for their upcoming deployment to Japan,” said Anderson.
The 6th Marine Regiment staff evaluated the battalion and how it conducted the simulated humanitarian efforts.
Marines had to keep constant vigilance during the evacuation to maintain security, as the role players attempted to enter the embassy by climbing over walls and sneaking around the perimeter.
The upcoming deployment is a different type of mission than the current missions going on in Afghanistan, said Davis. The scenario for this exercise demonstrated some of the capabilities the battalion may need on deployment, such as evacuating Americans in a hostile area, assisting in foreign disaster relief or providing additional security to an embassy.