31st MEU takes to the deep blue of Kin Blue to practice boat raids
KIN BLUE, Okinawa — Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit took to the temperate waters off of Kin Blue to practice boat raids Monday as part of a larger MEU exercise.
And Okinawa’s warmer waters were greatly appreciated by Company A, Battalion Landing Team 1/5 Marines, here on a six-month deployment from Camp Pendleton, Calif., said 1st Sgt. Tracy Offutt, 40.
The Company A Marines spent most of the hot afternoon preparing the 18 Zodiac boats for the evening’s raid at Camp Schwab. Once the boats were ready, the Marines practiced entering and exiting the almost nonexistent surf before heading the 11.5 miles up the coast to Camp Schwab for the exercise.
The Marines took the Zodiacs out in three waves of six boats. For the rehearsal, they dropped their scout swimmers into the water about 500 feet from shore.
The scouts, in full gear, then were to swim to shore to scout the beach before the boats and the rest of the crews would come in, said Staff Sgt. Martin Buck, 36.
For Monday night’s raid, which was expected to last until the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Company A Marines were to be met by other Marines role-playing as aggressors, Buck said.
The boat raid company provides commanders with over-the-horizon clandestine insertion capabilities, Buck said.
But the boats are just the means of traveling to the actual mission, Offutt said. Once the destination is reached, Marines have to get their feet wet, so to speak.
“You get totally soaked and then still have to accomplish the mission,” he said. “In Okinawa, the waters are warmer, so it’s a good time.”
Cpl. Beau Bauer, 26, a scout swimmer for the company, agreed.
“This is the funnest thing I do in the Marine Corps,” Bauer said.
“I have a problem being on dry land.”