Friday, August 18, 2017

31st MEU conducts airfield seizure exercise...Photos by Lance Cpl. Breanna Weisenberger

Grainy pics of night ops is just par for the course.  But ignore the pic quality, we have a different kettle of fish to fry.

Want to know where US forces will be ambushed next?

Yeah.  Trying to seize an airfield.

You don't even need to do any spying, espionage or search open sources hard. It's in your face and absolutely EVERY service and most units practice it.

SOCOM?  You bet your ass.  Rangers?  Stole the mission from the 82nd.  MARSOC? Stole it from the MEU.  Special Forces?  They claim to be able to do everything.  SEALs?  You can bet your ass that they won't be left out of any "en vogue" capability!

But what about our conventional forces?

MEU?  Yep.  Supposedly to hold it for follow on forces.  82nd ABN?  As part of their forcible entry mission.  101st AASLT? Ditto.  25th ID?  Yep.  2nd ID?  Yep. 173 ABCT? You bet your ass...they're mini-82nd.  The list goes on and include practically every combat unit in the US military.

What about PORT SEIZURE?

I can't find it but Neller talked about the USMC having to do port seizure and I cheered.  Unfortunately it was a one time thing.  But it is an essential part of the Marine Corps mission.  It is one of our reasons for being.  Check this out via
  • Amphibious Operations
  • Amphibious Assault
  • Amphibious Raid
  • Amphibious Demonstration
  • Amphibious Withdrawal
  • Maritime Special Operations:
  •    Direct Action
  •       Seizure/Recovery of Offshore Energy Facilities (GOPLAT)
  •        Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure Operations (VBSS)
  •    Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP)
  • Military Operations Other Than War:
  •     Peace Operations
  •     Peacekeeping
  •     Peace Enforcement
  •     Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO)
  •     Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief
  • Supporting Operations:
  •     Rapid Response Planning
  •     Terminal Guidance Operations
  •     Enhanced Urban Operations
  • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  •       Reconnaissance and Surveillance
  •       Counter Intelligence
  •       Signals Intelligence
  • Fire Support Planning, Coordination, Control in a Joint/Combined Environment
  • Provide Command, Control, Communications, Computers
  • Airfield/Port Seizure
  • Limited Expeditionary Airfield Operations
  • Security Operations
  • Enabling Operations
  • Joint Task Force Enabler
  • Chemical Biological Assessment
  • Maritime Preposition Force Enabler
  • Follow-on-Force Enabler
  • Special Operations Force Enabler
  • Employ Non-lethal Weapons
  • Tactical Deception
  • Information Operations
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Anti-terrorism
Above is a list of mission sets assigned to the Marine Expeditionary Unit. It's an impressive list and the Special Operations Capable label that they once carried is still applicable today (even though SOCOM would have a cow).

But back on task.

Notice that airfield and port seizure are listed as equal capabilities?  Riddle me this.  I've asked it before but I'll ask again.  For all the operations that we've seen in cities why have we never seen an operation at a major port so that the Marine Corps can practice this?

Conducting exercises in the middle of major cities is unexplainable.  We have combat towns that can simulate those conditions and if not then we need to build a joint mega city on Ft Hood, 29 Palms, or hell in the middle of federal land in a desert somewhere to practice the skills necessary if leadership really wants to chase that rabbit down the hole.

But by my reckoning we haven't done a live exercise with the goal of seizing a major port in the past 30 years.  Why?  We are the service that is tasked with that mission.  It is unique to the Marine Corps but we don't do it!  Why?

We're seeing something that affects weight lifters and causes unbalanced physiques.  You'll see guys banging away curling but never doing core exercise, failing to build a base of strength by dead lifting, failing to activate their nervous systems by blasting their legs.  The same can be said of the Marine Corps.

Training to do the "cool missions" is well and good.  It's fun.  The planning might be unrealistic but its easy.  It's been done a million times so the play book is down pat.  But what about the nasty, hard but necessary stuff?  An expeditionary force in readiness should be able to execute across the board. Even in missions that it doesn't like.

Besides.  If Marine Corps leadership is serious about fighting in Mega Cities then seizing a port should be child's play.

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