May 17, 2012

Realistic Urban Training heats up in El Centro

Cpl. John Robbart III
15th MEU

NAVAL AIR STATION EL CENTRO, Calif.   — More than 400 Marines and sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit began conducting the ground portion of Realistic Urban Training, here, May 7.

The training aims to integrate the Command Element, and its Maritime Raid Force, with the Aviation Combat Element.  It will be conducted in unfamiliar areas to better train the Marines in taking urban environments into consideration when conducting missions.

“Realistic urban training allows the Marines and Sailors of the 15th MEU to exercise vital skill sets that better prepare them for what they face while forward deployed,” said Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “Bringing together the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force in an exercise such as this one allows us to train our Maritime Raid Force, conduct shore-based command and control and provide our ACE with quality, realistic training,” added Campbell.

The exercise will present unique challenges to prepare all elements of the MAGTF.

“This training is really important because the more practice we get, the more effective we will be,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob K. Uhler, machine gunner, Security Element, Maritime Raid Force, 15th MEU. “We need to be a prepared for a variety of missions, and this is preparing us for a portion of the missions that could be conducted on land,” added the 19-year-old native of Loomis, Calif.

Over the 11-day exercise, Uhler and his Marines will be conducting training such as fast-roping, covert and overt movement, patrols, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel and vehicle and helicopter insertion.

The ACE will be providing UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters to conduct close air support  missions and CH-46Es for troop insertion for the Marines on the ground.

“This is a great opportunity for us to train the junior Marines by letting them practice their trade,” said Cpl. Aaron W. Booth, UH-1Y door-gunner, Scarface Detachment, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, 15th MEU. “The more flights we conduct, the more the helicopters need to be serviced. This training is invaluable.”

The 15th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,300 Marines and sailors and are conducting this training to prepare for their deployment scheduled for this fall.

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