Photo Information

Force Reconnaissance Marines approach a beachhead in a zodiac, a small rubber craft designed to transport up to eight men.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Day

Swift, silent, deadly company prepares for Curacao

30 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Joseph Day

Force Reconnaissance Company, Reconnaissance Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force is preparing to go to Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles, to train alongside the French and Dutch militaries.

In preparation for this event, the company set out on zodiacs, a small rubber boat designed for 5 to 8 men, to practice sea navigation, and island reconnaissance in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Onslow Beach, Oct. 22.

“This is my first amphibious assault with this company,” said Pfc. Robert Spangle, a team member with the company.  “This is really good training.  We covered a lot of competency areas in a short time”

The zodiac training had the Marines practice pulling their boats onto a ship in the Atlantic Ocean multiple times. 

“This is getting our Marines back to doing what recon does, amphibious assaults,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dan Howe, platoon sergeant with 1st platoon.  “We are establishing our standard operating procedures and our tactics, techniques and procedure.”

After the men felt confident with their skills, they set out to prepare for their night assault on Onslow Beach.  They checked their gear one last time as the sun set.

“We get to see how we’ll work together in some harsh conditions,” said Spangle. “Its cold, wet and getting dark; there is no better way to get to know the men I’ll be working with in a combat zone.”

They set out across the water toward the shore at 10 knots.  The mission lasted from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m.  They gathered information on a select target and returned back to the dock near Courthouse Bay.

“The weather plays a big part in their training,” said Howe.  “They are cold and wet.  It will bring out the attitudes in them.”