Marines practice boat-raiding on Kin Blue beach
January 3, 2006
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa — Troops took to the waters off Kin Blue beach here last week to train — not on how to overrun an enemy with power but on how to slip in undetected, complete a mission and quickly depart.
Marines and sailors from Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines spent Wednesday and Thursday conducting boat-raid training. The battalion, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., is the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s current ground combat element.
The unit spent the days going over its beach-landing procedures, which include basic movement to the objective and organization once ashore, according to Staff Sgt. Michael Roy, Fox Company 3rd platoon sergeant. Roy said the training is to prepare for the unit’s upcoming Special Operations Training Group inspection, in which they are evaluated for Special Operations Capable qualification.
The battalion arrived on Okinawa to join the 31st MEU on Dec. 2. This was the “boat company’s” first opportunity to get into the water, Roy said.
When practicing the raids, the boats started far offshore where several “waves” of the craft were staged. As one wave hit a checkpoint, the next began to head for the beach. All the while, the Marines kept a low profile against the rubber boats.
“The biggest thing is coming in with stealth and getting to the objective without being seen or heard,” Roy said, adding that the Marines also had to “practice doing what we have to do (the mission) and get back to our boats as quick as possible so we can get out of Dodge.”
When the Marines hit the beach, the mission “turns into green-land grunt stuff” such as patrolling, he said.
As the boats practiced last week, so too did a handful of “scout swimmers,” whose job, Roy said, is to prepare the beach for the landing.
Sgt. Jason Holiman, chief coxswain, said the training was the first time in four months the company has had the opportunity to get into the water.
Holiman added that Okinawan waters are nothing like the California waves.
A constant strong current pushes the boats in Okinawa, he said, but “the water is incredibly warm compared to California. I have no problem jumping in there right now.”
And that might just happen: Roy said he hopes to get the company in the water at least once more for boat training before the unit begins its Special Operations Training Group qualifications.