Lights out, raids in

2 Nov 2015 | Pfc. Devan Gowans I Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with Company A, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Headquarters Group completed a simulated tactical night raid as part of multi-phase field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 23, 2015.

The sun set over the last green knoll as a U.S. Marine marksman perched on a hill overlooking the replicated combat town. The sniper’s scope was precisely affixed on the simulated enemy peering out of the window in the mock village. The spotter confidently asserted the virtual combatant’s identity as a target of high value. An officer barked the order to advance on the village. His squad quickly came to their feet and filed down the embankment, making hasteful approach to the compound housing the adversaries, ready to unleash their swift attack on the enemy.

Once the attack was over, the Marines of Company A, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, plundered the compound from the bottom to the top, exploiting the spoils of weapons and foreign currency caches that the foes left behind.

The simulated tactical night raid was completed as part of a multi-phase field training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 23, 2015.

The night raid incorporated tactical site exploitation methods that were taught to the Marines during a previous exercise.

“Through evaluated intelligence and surveillance of the site from an earlier simulated raid, we were able to identify a High Value Individual,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mark Massalski, company gunnery sergeant for Company A, 1st LEB. “We devised simultaneous raids on two houses inside the mock combat town where we collected several HVIs, along with other crucial evidence.”

The mock raids conducted during training evolutions also allow for individual Marines to receive hands-on experience with a Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit, or SEEK, which is a device that is used to identify known enemy targets and High-Value Individuals.

“The SEEK is a biometrics terminal linked to a database that allows us to identify high-priority targets through fingerprints, retinal scans and other data relevant to the target’s name through associates or evidence that we have found on other training sites during the evolution,” explained Cpl. Daniel Barnhardt, a fire team leader with Company A.

In deployed environments, the evidence that is collected from tactical site exploitations provide a great advantage to U.S. forces operating in combat zones by helping them identify potentially dangerous individuals.

“What we saw in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns was that the vital evidence collected in site exploitations played a significant role in future missions by increasing the information in our intelligence databank,” Massalski added. “We are perfecting those methods during this training so that whenever we are called upon to harness our capabilities and reinforce deployed units, we can do so.”

Another purpose of tactical site exploitation training exercises is to improve Marines’ basic understanding of the tactics of a basic raid, and how to find strategic evidence that would support their military intelligence efforts.

“We are using this training to enhance our standard operating procedures,” Barnhardt added. “This exercise is shaping the future operations of military police officers in this unit. It is something that I truly believe is beneficial to myself and my fellow Marines.”

The Marines of Company A, 1st LEB taking part in the training evolution are receiving valuable skills that will improve raid efforts and high value target retrieval methods of expeditionary forces at home and abroad.

The evidence that the Marines collect contributes overall to the strategic and operational intelligence of the Department of Defense, making us smarter, stronger, and faster than ever before, and ultimately keeping us one step ahead of the enemy.

I MHG , 1st LEB , LE ,