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1/3 C Co. raids the darkness

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 5/02/2004

Story by Lance Cpl. Megan L. Stiner

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii(April 30, 2004) -- For some people, the simple state of darkness can make them nervous, even frightened. For others, fear is not an option. For them, darkness creates an image and provides an atmosphere that enables these artists the opportunity to develop a masterpiece -- or die trying.

Equipped with night vision goggles, weapons and their basic knowledge in the art of combat, Marines from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, added their own color to the canvas as they conducted a week of special operations training involving night helicopter raids, recently.

Thirty-four Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, integrated into Charlie Co., 1/3, in preparation for deployment to Okinawa, Japan, where they will be part of the ground combat element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, explained 2nd Lt. Travis J. Fuller, 3rd Platoon commander, Charlie Co., 1/3.

Corporal Nick A. Misiano, the 2nd Platoon squad leader, came to 1/3 from 3/3 one-and-a-half months ago and found that training with members of a new unit can be quite difficult.

"There are conflicting viewpoints among the Marines from both companies," Misiano explained. He added that, that has been the most difficult aspect in recent training maneuvers, though the viewpoints have become less controversial over time.

For one week, the Marines participated in exercises at the Kahuku Training Area and Marine Corps Training Area Bellows. Throughout the week's evolution, they conducted a daytime helicopter raid and three night helicopter raids.

"Although each day was repetitive, it enabled us to better assess which areas we needed more work on, and focus on those problems the following day and night," said Cpl. Steven Komin, machinegunner, Weapons Platoon squad leader.

The instruction Charlie Co. received during the week is part of the MEU Predeployment Training Program, which brought instructors from Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan, to train and critique Marines during the evolution.

"We recently received new infantry Marines into the company, which can make for a shaky week of training," said Komin. "For those Marines, this was their first time doing raids, so it was convenient to have the SOTG instructors there to help out."

After a day of field maneuvers, the Marines of Charlie Co. were anticipating their next move, attaching night vision goggles to their Kevlars and mentally preparing themselves.

As the sun set, three CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 picked up five sticks, or groups, of Marines from the Kahukus (in the combat scenario, Kahuku was a ship) and delivered them in two trips to Bellows. Once they all arrived, the action began.

The shadowed silhouettes streamed from each helicopter and headed towards their objective in a quick, yet continuously, stealth-like manner.

The first group to enter the building was 1st Platoon, which served as the security platoon. Its objective was to secure the building for the second sweep of Marines.

Second Platoon portrayed a support platoon. Once the area was secured, it entered the building and captured the objective.

The final wave consisted of Marines from 3rd Platoon who served as the assault platoon. Their task was to gather information and assist the injured from the building. The Navy corpsman that followed also helped extract the injured Marines.

Once the objective was taken and everyone was accounted for, Marines and Sailors quickly returned to the helicopters carrying the injured. The Sea Stallions returned to Kahuku.

According to Cpl. Steven M. Christiansen, 1st Platoon team leader, the most important concept they grasped during the exercises was the need to be "quick in and quick out." As the week progressed, he said that Charlie Company became a lot more efficient at its goal.

"The training that Charlie Company received in the past month has prepared them for the future coming together of the entire battalion for the MEU," Fuller added. "The next time Charlie Company performs training at Kahuku, it will be for an entire battalion field exercise. That exercise will be their final major training event in Hawaii."

"The more effective we [Charlie Company] become as a unit, the easier it will be to combine with the other companies for future training and deployment," said Christiansen. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to deploy as a battalion, and are working hard to be as prepared as possible."

"The training that Charlie Company received in the past month has prepared them for the future coming together of the entire battalion for the MEU," Fuller added. "The next time Charlie Company performs training at Kahukus, it will be for an entire battalion field exercise. That exercise will be their final major training event in Hawaii."



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