CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, employed a Quick Reaction Force to combat imminent “enemy threats” during I Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2015, aboard Camp Pendleton, California Feb. 22, 2015.
I MEF conducted a large-scale exercise to evaluate its training and readiness to deploy in support of combatant command operations. It is designed to allow I MEF command element staff and Marine Headquarters Group to rehearse and execute their responsibilities as the I MEF main command post.
The culminating event captured all of the training the Marines received throughout the last two weeks in support of MEFEX-15, including machine gun drills, vehicle formations, tactical site exploitation, gathering of evidence and QRF rundown drills.
“What we just did was a QRF to go snatch up a known high-value individual, and try to stop them from hitting us with indirect fire here on the forward operating base,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Rittenhouse, platoon commander, Charlie Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Headquarters Group.
The Marines knew someone or something was influencing the local nationals, and over a half-hour period, the Marines observed activity in the target area, said Rittenhouse. There were multiple armed military-aged individuals with a mortar tube who began laying sand bags down, and as soon as the Marines confirmed the FOB activated the QRF, the QRF went out to capture the individual responsible for bringing all of those people together as well as that mortar tube, he added.
“An infantry platoon was conducting a raid as a QRF for the FOB that we are on right now, and in that infantry platoon, we had a Law Enforcement Detachment, from the LEB attached to the infantry platoon,” said Rittenhouse. “The infantry platoon includes dog handlers, military working dogs and criminal investigation agents who carry out investigations and recover forensic evidence, as well as some of our Special Reaction Team members which are the military version of SWAT. All of those enablers come together to form an LED, and then we attach to an infantry platoon and support them in their operations.”
The security element posted up four corner security around the objective site once the house was identified and the security element maintained defense, allowing the assault group to approach the house, make entry, clear it and take care of any remaining enemy.
“Once the team made entry into the house, they found an individual lying inside the door,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Spiehs, company gunnery sergeant, Charlie Co., 1st LEB, I MHG. “As they made it around to the back of the house, they had a bodyguard and a HVI, who is the planner of this exercise we are conducting up here.”
During the mission, the MEF was about to take some indirect fire that, had this been a real scenario, could have caused some fatalities that would have disrupted some communication, said Rittenhouse. MEF is helping coordinate across the Marine Corps during invasion-style scenarios, so had they lost communication that would have thrown a wrench in the plans for moving in the right direction.
“The Marines have been planning, rehearsing and practicing the scenario over the last two weeks to get in the mindset. It was good practice for the Marines and they learned a lot from it,” said Spiehs. “They were able to evacuate the casualties and the HVI while they continued doing the tactical site exploitation at the end. I think it worked out very well.”