MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER, BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, performed a tactical non-combatant personnel evacuation training mission via aircraft as part of Large Scale Exercise 2014 at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., Aug. 13.
The exercise is a bilateral training event being conducted by 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade to build U.S. and Canadian forces’ joint capabilities through live, simulated, and constructive military training activities from Aug. 8-14 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.
The Marines of 2nd Bn., 7th Marines traveled from Twentynine Palms to Bridgeport in three CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopters. During the mission, the Marines escorted the simulated evacuees to board two MV-22B Ospreys, which were used to rapidly remove them from the danger area.
“[In Bridgeport], we were able to link up with the personnel we were supposed to recover, using speed and a lot of coordination, so we could fly them out as soon as possible,” said 1st Lt. Jarrod Dlugos, a platoon commander with Fox Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Marines.
The Marines extracted the personnel while taking all precautions to ensure the well-being of the non-combatants. Safety, speed and mission accomplishment were imperative.
“We were able to extract the personnel and ourselves without exposing [any of us] for too long,” said Dlugos.
Keeping skills like personnel extraction sharp is essential to guarantee the safety of Americans, who work overseas.
“We have a lot of U.S. assets in embassies, and you never know when you’ll have to get your people out,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Vokt, a machine gunner with 2nd Bn., 7th Marines.
The drill also served as a way to practice extraction of aircraft personnel.
“If an aircraft gets shot down, it’s going to be up to us to conduct that tactical recovery of the aircraft and its personnel,” said Dlugos. “This is extremely relevant in today’s environment.”
Practicing tactical evacuation techniques is one of the ways Marines with 1st MEB remain up-to-date with training to address current conflict scenarios around the world.
“There might not be boots on the ground, however, there is a large aircraft presence over the Middle East,” said Dlugos. “It’s always going to be a relevant mission for the Marine Corps.”
Staff at the combat operations center had live feedback while the training evacuation was being conducted, as part of the combination of live, simulated and constructive military training.
Tactical non-combatant personnel extraction is another asset 1st MEB has to offer. As LSE-14 comes to an end, the Marine Corps is able to count on a MEB with sharper and more efficient tactical evacuation techniques.