- By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Anti-terrorism raid drills slated for Jan 8-20
Bombs will explode and military helicopters will hover as members of the US Marine Corps 31th Marine Expeditionary unit launch an assault mission to root out “enemies” holding out at government facilities in different locations on Guam.
The Department of Navy drew this raid scenario for this year’s Realistic Urban Training Exercise (RUTEX 18) scheduled for Jan. 8 to 20.
While the majority of the annual training activities will occur on Anderson Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, Navy officials say the critical components of the 13-day training entail the use of civilian properties at Tanguison Power Plant, Agana Water Treatment Plant and the adjacent buildings including the Sirena Plaza in Hagatna.
A Marine with Company “F”, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, carries his M-240B to his firing position during a live fire company assault as part of Realistic Urban Training Exercise (RUTEX) at range 400 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., in this Sept.5, 2015 file photo. Photo courtesy of Sgt Hector de Jesus/USMC
“The purpose of the exercise is to evaluate and certify the combat readiness of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prior to their deployment,” the Navy said in a brief submitted to the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans. “During RUTEX, the MEU will be required to conduct a series of challenging and realistic events to test their ability to conduct specialized limited scale raids.”
The simulated raids will include the use of explosive and mechanical breaching and simulated munitions among others. Activities— most of which will be conducted during night time — involve role players moving in and out of the facilities “to simulate an energy force” that capture the sites.
On the evening of Jan. 15, the Marines will conduct “a full mission profile raid of the target” by using a combination of civilian vehicles and military helicopters.
At the Agana Water Treatment facility, members of the Expeditionary Operation Training Group will use mechanical thermal or small explosive charges on door frames that will be built by the Marines for the training purpose.
“This is done so that the existing doors and surrounding infrastructures are not damaged. All charges are under .25 lbs net explosive weight with a minimum safety distance of 15ft in the open without cover,” the Navy said. “The explosives are no/low fragment producing charges which allow our Marines and Sailors to employ them at close proximity without risk of injury to themselves.”
The Sirena Plaza building will be used an as a station for urban snipers who will “execute a precision live-fire shot at a simulated exposed enemy threat near the water treatment facility.”
During the simulated raids, access to the facility and surrounding parks will be temporarily restricted for three to five hours.
Meanwhile, the Navy announced on Friday that more than 6,000 sailors assigned to Carl Vinson Strike Group ships and units departed the U.S. West Coast Jan. 4-5, for a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. The deployment marks the second time the Carl Vinson Strike Group will operate throughout the Indo- Pacific region under U.S. 3rd Fleet's command and control. The strike group is the premier naval force.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), operates with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, including USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), CVW-5, USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181) and JS Ashigara (DDG 178) in the western Pacific region. Photo courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers/US Navy
Ships deploying from U.S. 3rd Fleet to the Western Pacific traditionally shifted to U.S. 7th Fleet after crossing the international dateline. The 3rd Fleet Forward construct expands U.S. 3rd Fleet's control of ships and aircraft across the Western Pacific and beyond the international dateline to India, enabling U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet to operate together across a broad spectrum of maritime missions in region. "I look forward to the strike group further demonstrating 3rd Fleet's evolving operational role across the Indo-Pacific region," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, the strike group commander. "We are trained and ready to execute our mission." The strike group includes aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) from Destroyer Squadron 1. In November, ships and units completed a three-week sustainment training exercise off the coast of Southern California. The strike group demonstrated readiness for executing missions across all warfare areas after successfully conducting a series of at-sea drills, missile shoots and strike operations using a variety of naval platforms and weapons. Carrier Air Wing 2 includes more than 70 aircraft from the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, the "Blue Hawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 78), the "Bounty Hunters" of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2, the "Blue Blasters" of VFA-34, the "Kestrels" of VFA-137, the "Golden Dragons" of VFA-192, the "Black Eagles" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Gauntlets" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136 and the "Providers" of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Det. 2. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is a premier naval force. It provides U.S. leaders capable and ready options for maintaining regional maritime security, stability and freedom of the seas in accordance with international law and customs.
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