MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines of Company C, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, conducted a three-day ship-to-shore operation in conjunction with the USS Nashville at Onslow Beach, Dec. 5 to 7.
“The point of the operation was to get our Marines familiarized with amphibious operations as well as to make them proficient in their military occupational specialty,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mathew Brower, platoon commander with Company C.
Although the battalion conducts land-to-sea operations about twice a year, this training evolution was especially important because most of their junior Marines had never participated in an amphibious training operation.
“About 90 percent of our Marines are straight out of the schools,” said Cpl. David Harrison, an assistant section leader with the company. “This training also allows them to see how the chain of command works in the fleet and it lets us see their strengths and weaknesses so we can quickly get them up to speed.”
Brower said the Marines need to match up to the deployment schedule while keeping focused on basic Marine Corps fundamentals and tactics.
“With the current deployment rotation, it’s imperative to get our Marines in the water getting training,” Brower said. “It’s just getting back to the nuts and bolts of being amphibious.”
According to Harrison, the battalion relies heavily on its noncommissioned officers to lead and tutor the less experienced Marines. “That’s one of the things the battalion is pretty good about. The NCOs here are very strong in their leadership abilities.”
Harrison said it’s normal to feel tense or nervous before splashing into the water, but once the vehicle comes up it’s a feeling of accomplishment.
“Once the vehicle hits the water you really just don’t know what’s going to happen, especially if you’re the first vehicle,” he said. “It sometimes goes completely under before popping back up and makes you wonder, ‘How can this 31-ton vehicle actually come back up?,’ but they always do. I know it makes the driver feel good when it’s their first time and they do everything right.”
The Marines of Company C prepared for over two weeks for the operation. They conducted land-to-sea exercises and practiced embarkation procedures. While on board the USS Nashville, the Marines conducted several classes on proper maintenance procedures checks, amphibious operations and embarkation/debarkation with a ship.