May 10, 2012

Tomcats prep for 15th MEU with RUT exercise

Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff
Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers
Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force ascend the stairwell of an oil platform off the coast of Carpinteria, Calif., April 16. The MRF practiced gas and oil platform raids during the week-long maritime portion of Realistic Urban Training. The exercise prepares the Marines for a new and unfamiliar environment and further enhances their skill sets as the unit’s special operations force.

Before any Marine Expeditionary Unit prepares to set sail on the high seas, various training requirements must be accomplished to ensure complete integration of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

Part of the Realistic Urban Training requirements, which provides opportunities to train in various closequarter combat situations, took place at Naval Air Station El Centro, Calif., with AV-8Bs Harriers from Yuma’s Marine Attack Squadron 311 providing close air support.

The Tomcats will serve as part of the aviation combat element for an upcoming deployment with the 15th MEU this fall.

“It’s a chance to integrate standard operating procedures on how to insert, support and extract the Maritime Raid Force,” said Capt. David Selmo, VMA-311 pilot training officer.

The MEU’s ground combat element is from Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

With a compliment of special operations and reconnaissance Marines at their disposal, Maritime Raid Force serves as the high speed, low drag boots on the ground, requiring equally skilled pilots to support them in a hostile environment.

The MEU will travel the Pacific Ocean, taking part in various joint-force exercises during their deployment.

USS Pearl Harbor, left, and USS Makin Island, sail with Marines and sailors serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, including Marine Attack Squadron 214, on May 8. The unit embarked the ships, as well as USS New Orleans, in San Diego Nov. 14, beginning a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific, Horn of Africa and Middle East regions.

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