DJIBOUTI — Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted an amphibious training raid at Arta Beach in Djibouti Aug. 15.
The raid, executed by Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was similar to several such raids the MEU has undertaken since the beginning of their deployment at the end of March – but it was the first in Djibouti, a small country located within the Horn of Africa region.
“The Marines are always happy to train in new environments. These training opportunities show our ability to adapt to any given situation regardless of changes in the mission or location,” said Capt. Alexander George, the executive officer of Alpha Company.Assault Amphibious Vehicles carried the mechanized force from the USS New York and maneuvered through the seas onto the simulated beachhead near Alpha Company’s objective.
As soon as the AAVs came to a stop on dry land, the Marines stormed their objective, a concrete building a few hundred meters from the shoreline.
But a surprise awaited them.
The building contained a group of other 24th MEU Marines playing the role of enemy forces. Alpha Company quickly engaged the simulated enemy and pushed them out of the objective and into the hills behind.
"The raid went really fast, the Marines were quick,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Woodard, one of Alpha Company’s platoon sergeants. “We hit the beach and I quickly posted my Marines. No sooner did we get set to move when I heard the Marines from the “restaurant” (the objective’s code name) yelling that they already cleared the building."
In fact, Alpha Company reported “objective secure” to higher headquarters just 25 minutes after landing on the beach.
"They were great; the Marines were quick, thorough and professional,” George concluded. “This proved our ability to conduct a mechanized raid. The Marines demonstrated our flexibility on the ground by how they handled this raid."
Alpha Company is currently embarked aboard the USS New York, one of three ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which carries approximately 2,300 total Marines of the 24th MEU.
“It was a great opportunity to exercise all aspects of an amphibious raid - planning, preparation, and execution – with a full mission profile and outside observers grading our efforts," said Capt. Robert May, Alpha Company commanding officer.
Complementing the Marines at sea, a contingent of 24th MEU Marines is presently ashore in Djibouti taking part in and coordinating various unilateral exercises and several bilateral events with foreign militaries. The 24th MEU is deployed with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group as a theater reserve and crisis response force in support of U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet area of responsibility.