Face of Defense: Navy Boat Team Practices Counter-drug Mission
By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., Dec. 21, 2012 As waves tossed the two small assault boats around the sailors aboard were on watch for movement on the water as their vessels made their way to the insertion point.
Sailors with a special boat team extract from simulated enemy territory during a training exercise in the Cherry Point, N.C., area Dec. 12, 2012. The sailors inserted to investigate and recover a simulated hidden weapons cache. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Cold water splashed over the boats’ gunnels but the sailors didn’t deviate from their course. They stood ready to deploy into the wet marshlands, where intelligence informed them of the location of a small weapons cache.
Their mission was to quietly insert, recover the cache and get out undetected. Navy Riverine Squadron 2, Detachment 22 accomplished its mission. The ground team recovered three rifles buried under some dead shrubs and sticks and they moved back to the boats for extraction.
Although this was just a training scenario, this is a situation these sailors might face while conducting anti-drug operations in South America, said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dwayne Brown, an operations specialist with the team.
The boat team recently conducted several training exercises on the waterways surrounding Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic and Cherry Point during their trip here from Little Creek, Va.
“The land and waterways around this area are similar to what we will be seeing on deployment,” Brown said. “That is the reason for choosing this location. We can give these sailors real-life training with real-world similarities to the locations we will see in South America.”
MCOLF Atlantic provides the sailors with a quiet, austere location for their training. They constructed shelters and tents, and there is very little to no cell phone reception, putting the sailors in a state of seclusion.
“We want them to get used to this type of place,” Brown said. “That way it will not be a shock to them while on deployment.”
During the training, the sailors found themselves dealing with different weather patterns including freezing winds and sharp, stinging rain.
“A lot of the weather patterns we deal with make the waters rough and choppy,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Oyler, an engineer and gunner for the squadron. “We have to be prepared for any type of scenario. We have to be on alert for enemy contact, weather, and even water depth.”
The team fought the cold water and high winds and successfully concluded their training.
“Anytime we can come out and get some great training on the water is a great step towards mission accomplishment,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Cearley, the executive officer of Riverine Squadron 2.