August 20, 2015 — MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Taking on the surf and creating massive waves of their own, Marines with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, conducted a series of amphibious operations including embarking, debarking and beach assaults on Onslow Beach at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 17, 2015.
The Platoon conducts amphibious beach landing operations monthly. This training in particular is to keep the proficiency high for all the Marines in the battalion.
“We’re making sure the Marines still know what they’re doing. You have to stay proficient while you’re training. We need to stay up with what we do which is going in the water, maintaining and making sure the guys know what to do.” said Cpl. Tomas Martinez, a crew chief with the platoon.
During this exercise, the platoon began with gator squares. Gator squares involve assault amphibious vehicles going out into the waves, continuing 500–1,000 meters and making a large square, come back around and come on shore. The AAV’s go in succession of one another, following the vehicle in front of them and creating a large square to come back around and form back up. This helps them gain confidence in their ability to be aboard the AAV’s.
Martinez says, being able to train with vehicles like these is what keeps the Marine Corps amphibious. He added that there are other vehicles that can wade in the water, cross small streams, but there is no other vehicle that can go from ship to shore or far out in the ocean.
Frequently doing training like this keeps the Marines proficient in their Military Occupational Specialty and the capabilities they perform.
“I have to be able to know what I’m doing. Being out here is really just fine tuning what I already know, if I can’t employ my vehicle proficiently then I’m not able to help to my platoon,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon Kelly, an AAV operator.
The battalion’s overall mission is to land the surface assault element of the landing force during amphibious operations and once ashore continue to bring the fight to the enemy through mechanized operations.
“It’s always good to get a little bit of extra training in, you can never be too ready, especially for a job like this when we’re out in the water and out in the ocean,” said Kelly. “The ocean is a formidable and it’s not something to be taken lightly.”