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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

 

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
Echo Company 2/4 trains for future success in Hawaii

By Cpl. Eberle, Scott | | September 22, 2006

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Marines of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, currently attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) gathered in the hangar bay of the USS Boxer preparing to go ashore for the first time this deployment into Hawaii. “Some of the main goals were just to reinforce the skills that we have been acquiring over Composite Training Exercise and Joint Task Force Exercise, the two prior at sea training exercises,” said 1st Lieutenant John McLaughlin, Echo Co. 1st Platoon Commander. “Any training we do increases proficiency and builds confidence,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas W. Foster. “No matter what kind of training we are doing, we are improving technically and tactically.” Other Marines from the 15th MEU (SOC) were sent out to the site before hand where they played the role of insurgents, acting out scenarios for reconnaissance teams to report. “At the end of the day, we had a good opposition force out there, they did a real good job and played the roles very well,” said McLaughlin. After conducting six months of training in the Southern California area, the Hawaiian terrain offered a change of pace for Echo Co. that allowed them to test their abilities in a different type of environment. “All of the prior raids and seizures that we have [executed up to now] have been conducted at Twentynine Palms, Barstow, Victorville, all in the California desert, so this was nice to actually get off the ship and see Hawaii,” Said McLaughlin. “Although we were busy the whole time and didn’t really get any time to relax, it was just nice to [conduct] some training around some new scenery.” “We were looking for [an individual] who was acting as the commander of the base,” said McLaughlin. “It was 1st Platoon’s job to regain control of the compound.” As the assault element pushed through the darkness towards the objective, they encountered small arms fire from role players along the way and quickly eliminated the threat. 1st Platoon swiftly captured their target individual and seized the command post just as planned, but the training did not stop there. According to McLaughlin, the Marines had an opportunity to practice a little bit of everything, each platoon took turns conducting patrols, holding security and working at the vehicle check points. Even the next morning after all of the role playing had stopped and the mission was complete, Echo Co continued to learn as their company commander Capt. Huesing conducted some short classes on infantry tactics while waiting for the helicopters to come pick them up.“He’s great at doing that,” said McLaughlin. “The schedule gave us a little bit of down time so he gave some quick classes, some knowledge that he has acquired over the years.”In the end, the mission was a success, and Echo Co. was able to put another training mission on ever growing list of experiences. “As always, the Marines performance was outstanding,” said Foster. Now the Marines of Echo Co prepare to hit the beaches of Hawaii again, but this time for a couple days of rest and relaxation before the 15th MEU (SOC) continues on into the Western Pacific where they will conduct more training in order to stay prepared for any scenario they may be called into.
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