Photo Information

Marines from 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines maintain an over watch position and corrdinate for supporting fires from air assets on an objective. I Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group, Special Missions Branch, facilitated an event for Marines in support of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit with a combined arms raid aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 20.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Starr

SOTG connects the pieces for the 11th MEU

21 Feb 2014 | Lance Cpl. Seth Starr

The Special Operations Training Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, recently conducted combined arms raid training for Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard Camp Pendleton Calif., Feb 20.

SOTG facilitates training events for Marines prepping for deployment. The SOTG special missions branch created an event for Marines in support of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit with a combined arms raid.

Capt. Evan Fairfield, Special Missions Branch officer-in-charge, focused on the detail of the multi-faceted event.

“This is a training exercise for the 11th MEU Maritime Raid Force,” Fairfield, said. “It’s a helicopter raid designed to exercise the Marine’s combined arms skills and small unit tactics.”

The special missions branch orchestrated a series of events that recognizes the realism Marines may encounter abroad. The capture of high value targets and individuals are among some of the factors SOTG instructors incorporate into the training.  

Staff Sgt. Eric Schmutzer, a close quarter training instructor with SOTG special missions branch, reiterated the ever-changing circumstances overseas.

Schmutzer said, “As America’s forward deployed fighting force, the training that Marines with the MRF are receiving is very crucial.  Today’s enemy is utilizing more asymmetrical and non-standard tactics techniques and procedures. Once these Marines complete all of their required training, they will be ready for almost any situation that may arise overseas.”

The raid consisted of both air and ground assets to simulate and train for cohesion among multiple elements of the MEU.

Fairfield explained that the training evolution was the MEU’s first time conducting a large-scale combined arms exercise that incorporated the multiple facets of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

“They’ve got a reconnaissance company as the main body of the force, two security squad landing teams from 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and a counter human intelligence detachment all in support of the 11th MEU.”

The MAGTF’s capability is unique and self-supporting, said Schmutzer. 

“This is why we are such a valuable asset to theater and combatant commanders,” he explained.

The 11th MEU began training in January and is scheduled to depart this summer.