MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, conducted an integrated training exercise with Marines from the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion which began July 21 aboard the USS Wasp and ended July 24 in combat town, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The amphibious operation was designed to test the amphibious capabilities of the units that took part in the training.
“Amphibious training like this should be done more considering the fact that the Marine Corps is amphibious. We have strayed away from that due to the war we are currently fighting,” said Cpl. Nathan D. Shaw, the 1st squad leader with Kilo Company, 3rd Bn., 8th Marines, and native of Louisville, Ky.
Marines lived aboard the USS WASP for three days before loading vehicles aboard landing craft air cushion (LCAC) vehicles. Humvees, 7-ton trucks, and M1 assault breacher vehicles were loaded on to the LCACs.
First to depart the ship were the Marines of 2nd CEB.
“We are assaulting the beach. When the LCAC pulls up, the ABVs come off,” said Lance Cpl. David R. Jones, a combat engineer with Mobile Assault Company, 2nd CEB and native of Cumming, Ga.
An ABV is capable of clearing mine fields, filling in a tank ditch and plowing down mounds of dirt.
“With the ABVs, we will simulate clearing a mine field, filling in a tank ditch which will be a few meters deep and plowing down berms in order to pave the way to combat town for the infantry unit,” said Jones.
When the second wave of LCACs came ashore, the beach was ready for Kilo Co. to unload their humvees and 7-ton.
“CEB allowed us to make it to shore,” said 2nd Lt. Allen Dustin, a platoon commander for Kilo Co. and Cedar Rapids, Iowa native.
Kilo Co. quickly loaded the vehicles and started to move out to combat town.
The mission was to rescue two U.S. citizens and evacuate them to a U.S. Embassy.
“We are conducting non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) in order to pick up two U.S. citizens,” said Shaw who was the vehicle commander. He was in charge of transporting the Marines tasked with setting up a watch position and patrolling on the west side of Combat Town.
The Marines were given the whereabouts of the two American citizens.
“The citizens were supposed to be in a church,” said Shaw. “The first building we entered was empty. So we had to improvise and search another building, and they were in there.”
With the two citizens rescued, the next objective was to successfully transport them to the U.S. Embassy.
The two citizens were transported in a convoy and reached the U.S. Embassy without any problems.
With the operation declared a success, Marines and sailors were pleased with the training.
“It allowed us to go back to our roots with amphibious landings,” said Dustin. “It is our history – a part of our tradition. To continue to stay sharp in this skill is crucial to our success.”