While it may resemble Brawley, CA, it’s actually is the country of “Black”, and in one of the smaller towns, there is an insurgent leader who Intelligence has found out, is holed up in a certain house being protected by a small group of armed men. The “Mission”, go in under the cover of darkness, and get this “High Value Target”, without destroying the entire neighborhood to do it. Using Marine Aviation from the 3rd Marine Air Wing (3rd MAW), Marines from various units including Force Recon, Infrantrymen from 1set Battalion/4th Marines form a Maritime Strike Force (MSF). A highly trained group, who job it is to conduct missions suited more for “Raiding-type” forces, small and quick.

The Marines arrived when darkness can be it’s friend. First, comes the Command and Control ship (UH-1Y Huey), followed by (AH-1Z Cobras) Gunships. Once the area is deemed secured, the (CH-53E) Super Stallions and (MV-22) Ospreys bring in the troops. Landing a small distance from the village, they moved quickly and surround the house where their target is known to be.

Quickly the Marines secure the area, a Marine approaches the front door and sets a breaching explosive to the door, and then suddenly, a loud explosion occurs with Marines rushing through the entrace where a door once stood. There is the sound of flash bang grenades going off among small arms fire.

It is soon discover that the target is not in the house, other villagers tell the Marines, that the target parks his car at that house, and goes inside, but uses a tunnel under the house and is actually next door in the next house. The Marine of the MSF react immediately, and go into breach mode again. They get inside the house and there is more small arms fire, and then suddenly, you see the Marines whisking away a prisoner, with his hands tied behind his back. He is quickly lead away to a waiting Huey helicopter and taken away.

Suddenly gunshots ring out down the street, and with Marines being Marines, they run to the sound of gun fire, to stop any enemy action that may be taking place. More prisoners are taken and then the wounded are loaded onto the waiting Sea Stallions and Ospreys and with the rest of the Marines in tow, they helicopters lift away into the night’s skies and safety.

I want to thank the United States Marine Corps, the 13th MEU, and the Public Affairs Office for allowing me this chance of viewing the live training for these Marines. As a former Marine from the 1980’s, I can still stand proud that these young Marines are still upholding the values and traditions of the United States Marine Corps.



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About the Author

Doug Aguillard

Douglas Aguillard is a Contributing reporter to the Military Press. He's a Marine Veteran who specializes in Military and Sports photojournalism.

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