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All about amphib

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200562112842
Story by Lance Cpl. Daniel Redding

Camp Pendleton, Calif. (June 2, 2005) -- First Reconnaissance Battalion spent the day at the beach recently -- but it was hardly fun and games.

The unit practiced its amphibious tricks of the trade, preparing for a return to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Iraq? Amphibious? What's the connection?

The unit needs to keep its ship-to-shore skills up to par, said 1st Lt. John J. Wang, 1st Platoon commander for Company B.

"As reconnaissance Marines, there is still a base level of sustainment training that we have to do, and having the amphibious capability is one of the primary things that we have to know," said Wang.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Blair E. Dell, a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman with 2nd Plt., agreed. He noted that many Iraqi towns skirt rivers and other water bodies.

"The vast majority of populated areas have water access," Dell said.

"Anytime the war on terrorism pulls us somewhere besides the desert, we need to be able to go there and conduct amphibious operations if needed," he added.

The unit conducted mock, clandestine landings and withdrawals -- again, skills not mission-critical in a largely land-encompassed country like Iraq, but essential for recon Marines nonetheless.

During such a maneuver, a reconnaissance patrol moves into the landing area, clearing it for the rest of the team. The team then secures the landing zone.

The goal is to remain as invisible and undetectable as possible while gathering information for the follow-up force, said Gunnery Sgt. David Husing, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon and the primary instructor for the training.

In other words, recon sets the table.

"(It's) another tool in the tool bag," said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Henrik J. Lemar, a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman with 3rd Plt.

The bonus was the camaraderie built within the unit as experienced Marines tutored the new comers.

"Everything we do, as far as training goes, builds the team together," Whang said.

"All the noncommissioned officers have a tremendous amount of knowledge to pass down; they speak more from experience, having done multiple deployments."

The training ensures reconnaissance Marines will be ready for anything, anytime, anywhere, said Dell, who called recon Marines "jacks of all trades."

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