Training

Army Special Forces, Marines Execute TRAP Exercise

TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA (Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria) – The mission was simple: to find two downed pilots and evacuate them to safety while maintaining security for extraction. The training allowed both Marines and soldiers to share tactics and learn from one another.

“It’s always a privilege to work with fellow American service members,” said a communications sergeant, 10th SFG (A). “The Marines were eager to learn, which made for a great exercise and training environment. A team like ours can work with anyone whether they’re foreign military or American which is one of the reasons why we’re so versatile.”

The Combat Center’s training areas provided a realistic, challenging environment for the Marines and soldiers to retrieve the downed pilots.

“The terrain made it realistically difficult to see because of the clouds of rocks and sand caused by the propellers of the aircraft,” said a communications sergeant, 10th SFG (A). “The challenges made the training even more effective because we have to train in the areas we may be operating in.”

Marines took the opportunity to learn a thing or two from the Green Berets during the exercise. Through every step of the TRAP exercise, the soldiers enlightened Marines on different methods of security, avenues of approach and extraction procedures. Marines were also eager to perform and demonstrate their skills as warfighters.

“Exercises like these are good to show other units what the Marine Corps can do,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Champer, joint fires observer, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “This was a great experience for me and I would do it again without hesitation.”

Once the pilots were found, an evacuation was ordered and Marines and soldiers carried an injured pilot to the aircraft for extraction. Marines and soldiers lined the landing zone, providing security for the aircraft. As the super stallion got closer to the ground, a wave of sand rose and hit the security at full force. As the dust settled, the downed pilots were put on the helicopters and the exercise ended with the entire team being safely evacuated from the area.

“It was good training,” said the team sergeant, 10th SFG (A). “The Combat Center’s training areas opened up a lot of options and allowed us to have a TRAP exercise and even multiple exercises that were as realistic as possible.”

Joint-training exercises such as this one allow Marines to share knowledge with other units as well as learn some new tactics themselves. Personnel recovery training with other branches gives service members an opportunity to see different methods of reaching the same objective, and ultimately make better warfighters.

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11 Comments

  1. Recon4ParaShark

    We learned TRAP from the Army SF? Where were you guys when a bunch of motormen rescued Scott O''Grady?

    Per the Site Rules, post an Introduction before posting again.

  2. Recon4ParaShark

    We learned TRAP from the Army SF? Where were you guys when a bunch of motormen rescued Scott O''Grady?

    The Marine Corps is sadly behind the rest of the services when it comes to personnel recovery. There were huge leaps in PR during the GWOT and we never kept up with the joint community.

  3. Recon4ParaShark

    We learned TRAP from the Army SF? Where were you guys when a bunch of motormen rescued Scott O''Grady?

    One mission does not create instant experts.

  4. If I recall correctly, the O'Grady mission was a mad woman's breakfast. I'm glad they brought an American home, but the whole thing was a mess. You can't blame the Marines who were sent on the mission (except the one or two who bullied their way on for a CAR), but leadership dicked the dog.

  5. Recon4ParaShark

    Never said we were experts. Didn't we accomplish another TRAP mission in Libya in 2011?

    Yep, and the Air Force did two CSARs in Kosovo.

  6. What is a mad woman’s breakfast? I have not seen or heard of any negative after action reports. Sgt Major and Col on a bird? Yea…messed up.

  7. Recon4ParaShark

    What is a mad woman's breakfast? I have not seen or heard of any negative after action reports. Sgt Major and Col on a bird? Yea…messed up.

    A mess.

    It has been a few years since I spoke to or emailed anyone (I think one or two are on this board) about the recovery of BASHER 52, but I recall there being issues with other units (politics, not capability) and that resulted in the Marines getting the nod. Like I said, I can't fault the guys on the bird, minus the d-bags who "needed" a CAR*, but the process behind launching that a/c…..the staff or headquarters or political BS, however one wants to phrase it. I'm not trying to take away from the guys who did the deed, but it wasn't a cut-and-dry case of "Marines perform TRAP and have a MEU(SOC) in the area so away they go."

    If we back up to Desert Storm, and probably forward to Libya, I think we'll see cases where guys managed to get the job done despite being hampered by poor leadership and both internal and external politics.

    Back to the original article, given the amount the Marines have deployed over the last decade, I'll go out on a limb and say TRAP is one of those skills which fell by the wayside. It's also not exclusive to the Corps, so I can easily see why SF was teaching some Marines how to accomplish that mission. I don't see it as a slam on the Marines, but the reality of the situation.

    * – The Army has them too and our culture of chasing "bling" caused us problems here in Afghanistan. A Captain in the 82nd was punted from the service for jumping into Panama. He decided to replace a Brigade Commander's RTO with himself. "Here's your mustard stain, now GTFO."

  8. Freefalling

    A mess.

    It has been a few years since I spoke to or emailed anyone (I think one or two are on this board) about the recovery of BASHER 52, but I recall there being issues with other units (politics, not capability) and that resulted in the Marines getting the nod. Like I said, I can't fault the guys on the bird, minus the d-bags who "needed" a CAR*, but the process behind launching that a/c…..the staff or headquarters or political BS, however one wants to phrase it. I'm not trying to take away from the guys who did the deed, but it wasn't a cut-and-dry case of "Marines perform TRAP and have a MEU(SOC) in the area so away they go."

    If we back up to Desert Storm, and probably forward to Libya, I think we'll see cases where guys managed to get the job done despite being hampered by poor leadership and both internal and external politics.

    Back to the original article, given the amount the Marines have deployed over the last decade, I'll go out on a limb and say TRAP is one of those skills which fell by the wayside. It's also not exclusive to the Corps, so I can easily see why SF was teaching some Marines how to accomplish that mission. I don't see it as a slam on the Marines, but the reality of the situation.

    * – The Army has them too and our culture of chasing "bling" caused us problems here in Afghanistan. A Captain in the 82nd was punted from the service for jumping into Panama. He decided to replace a Brigade Commander's RTO with himself. "Here's your mustard stain, now GTFO."

    The Marines got the mission because of a "dope deal" made by the JSOTF2 Cdr and the ARG Cdr. Marines would do daylight rescues, and the JSOTF would do night missions (only if the ARG was available). There were good reasons for this arangement, and the arangement survived until the JSOTF shut down.

    FWIW; We routinly has SF perform as SAR Security Teams during Bosnia, and Kosovo. They may or may not have assisted duriing the early stages of OEF (I wasn't involved in that mission set). So SF doing TRAP Training shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

    I am curious if Recon4ParaShark was involved in those TRAP missions?

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