MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Take a moment to remember all those Hollywood scenes which so gloriously reflect the workings of a reconnaissance unit. Heartbreak Ridge, The Rock and so forth. Ditch the cameras, makeup and drama, and what’s left standing is a real-life gathering of men forged true in the ethos of “swift, silent, deadly.”
Enter the men of 3rd platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, the recon element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Searching for the next tough task, 3rd platoon has taken block training and added a combat diving package that would make even Hollywood jealous.
Beginning Jan. 31, the 13th MEU’s reconnaissance platoon initiated a series of training dives designed to better prepare teams for real-world missions. In addition to the expected and evaluated “block training” set forth by higher headquarters, recon platoon has taken operational readiness into their own hands.
February 1, the recon Marines culminated the brief “white-space” exercise with a night dive, the most challenging pre-deployment test in a recon unit’s readiness.
“We’ve already been through a pre-chop training cycle, and completed all the battalion raid courses,” said Capt. Jim Armis, commander of 3rd platoon. “But this is one of those ‘finer points’ before we start (Composite Training Underway Exercise).”
Although reconnaissance may have taken standard training one step ahead, the unit has not lost sight of its set-forth mission.
“Our main focus is supporting the (Battalion Landing Team),” said Armis. “Supporting battalion raids, we could definitely see something like this.”
At the top of the chain, standing side-by-side with the unit commander, is platoon sergeant Gunnery Sgt. David Lind, who said through thick and thin, his Marines have given their all during training.
“It’s been an intense work-up cycle so far,” said Lind, “we’ve been working nights, weekends and holidays, but basically our success has been leadership on every level.”
As the Marines geared up for the dive, pre-dive inspections took place and Capt. Armis noted how it took more than the unit to make the training happen.
“This is actually a lot of different agencies coming together to make this happen,” he said, “and a dive usually requires a lot of safety and coordination. A training dive takes one safety boat per dive team, recording bottled oxygen intake times, pre-dive inspections, and specialized corpsmen.”
Close timelines, specialized gear and unique missions are what have defined reconnaissance Marines since their inception, and these attributes make the units unique. During the upcoming spring deployment with the 13th MEU, reconnaissance will prove a valuable asset, sub-surface and above.
For more information about 3rd platoon, and the warriors of the Fighting 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the unit's Web site at www.usmc.mil/13thmeu.