CAMP LEJEUNE, NC — Marines and sailors from 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division and Force Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted helicopter casting operations aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 14, 2011.
The purpose of the exercise was to familiarize the Marines on exiting a moving CH-53 helicopter into the ocean and maneuvering their team safely to shore.
“This training is a method of insert for amphibious operations we may utilize when the battalion is deployed with the MEU,” said Capt. Philipp Rigaut, the outgoing company commander for Company C, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. “We drop off the Marines over the horizon with a boat, and the Marines would come to shore for a reconnaissance mission.”
Although the Marine Corps has had its attention on Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, the corps will continue to train for and uphold its roots as an amphibious fighting force prepared at anytime.
“Amphibious reconnaissance is actually very important, and it’s essential that we do this training,” said Rigaut. “This is an important part to a successful MEU deployment, so we’ll make sure we’re ready at anytime.”
The battalion is preparing for an upcoming deployment where amphibious operations are part of the work up.
“When you’re on a MEU, this method of insert is used quite often,” said Rigaut. “We try to do training like this usually once a month. We’re leaving for the MEU pretty soon, so this training is very important.”
The Marines spent multiple hours running through each exercise – first with just a team of Marines jumping out of the helicopter and then adding a combat rubber raiding craft with them while they jumped.
“I think the Marines are doing really well,” said Rigaut. “There’s always room for improvement in everything you do, so we’ll continue to train and get better.”
While these Marines often take part in similar training operations and have conducted this training before, it still brought excitement and enthusiasm after every jump they conducted.
“We’re recon, we love this kind of stuff. I’m excited every time I get to jump,” said Capt. Ryan Harrington, the incoming company commander for company C, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. “I don’t think I’m just speaking for myself when I say I enjoy it.”