PENSACOLA, Fla --
Marines with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company executed a day and night dive and ship-to-shore advancement operation at Pensacola, Fla., March 22-23, 2017.
Diving operations are one of the few methods used by reconnaissance Marines to infiltrate and access a coastline in order to provide forward observation and reconnaissance.
Over the course of a two-day training period, the Marines executed a series of training exercises in order to sustain and enhance their readiness and proficiency, review standard operation procedures, and as refine techniques and tactics on ship-to-shore operations.
The training days began with a detailed dive brief, which covered administrative procedures, scheme of maneuvers for each training evolution, safety considerations, and emergency procedures. Marines began their training by preparing and equipping their gear, conducting equipment inspections and heading to the open water site to begin the training evolutions.
Throughout the exercise Marines focused on transitioning from small crafts to shore and completion of mission objective.
Marines entered the water, linked up as a team, sub surfaced and began their navigation toward the beach landing site. Upon reaching the shore, Marines exited the water together, while maintaining security and moving clandestinely into the hinterland, established an objective rally point, removed their diving gear and began movement toward their objective.
The Marines conducted the same exercise multiple times during the day in order to better prepare for the night training evolution.
“Day dives are not something we generally do; they are usually not a real world scenario,” said Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Lanier, platoon sergeant with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Co. “We mostly only use day dives for training in order to prepare for the night time.”
When planning and executing missions during a dive operations exercise, Marines strive to create missions in a scenario as realistic as possible. The difficulty of a mission increases drastically during the night due to limited visibility above and under water.
“When executing a mission in an open water environment, the divers must deal with several different challenging elements such as tides, currents, weather, unknown terrain and water temperature,” said Staff Sgt. Hunter Stafford, dive chief with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Co. “It really benefits the Marines to get somewhere that simulates what they may experience in a real world scenario, should they ever have to execute these skills in a mission.”
With a very limited amount of time to execute operations and exercises, Reserve Reconnaissance Marines must overcome the challenging task to balance their rigorous training with their life outside the Marine Corps as a civilian, explained Lanier. Realistic scenarios help Reserve Marines meet the same standards held by their active component counterpart.
“All it takes to be a reconnaissance Marine is all you got,” said Lanier. “It takes a great deal of discipline, work ethic, will and pride.”
By the end of day, the Marines accomplished all their missions according to Capt. Cody Carrol, platoon commander with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Co. They left the exercise with all the sustainment and skillsets required to perform up to the highest standards in case they are called to a deployment to augment an active duty unit.