;MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The blades of the Huey whipped around furiously as it lowered to the deck for the insertion. Dust filled the moonlit air as the reconnaissance Marines loaded their weapons, tightened the straps on their packs, and pulled their covers tight on their heads. The pilot gave the thumbs-up and the Marines jumped out and continued on as the helo flew away undetected.
This scene describes a recent training evolution for the Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 and the Marines from 6th Platoon, A Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, recently participating in Combined Arms Exercise 10.
The Reconnaissance Marines practice numerous insertions and extractions at CAX for good reason.
"We do this to ensure that our Marines fulfill their Mission Essential Training quota," said 1st Lt. Jeff H. Buffa, 6th Platoon Commander, A Co., 2nd Recon Bn. "It reinforces a recon Marine's ability to get properly inserted into and extracted out of an area safely if a bad situation arises."
Reconnaissance Marines do not have many opportunities to practice in this kind of terrain.
"It is a great training evolution when Recon gets to work hand-in-hand with a squadron like this," said Buffa. "This is the type of situation that doesn't present itself very often."
Recon Marines are an important part of the MAGTF's assets. CAX is an effective way to ensure they receive the training they need to succeed in real-world operations.