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U.S. Sailors with the Maritime Raid Force (MRF), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), drive a Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) during visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training at Fort Eustis, Va., Aug. 2, 2017. VBSS is a two-week long training iteration that allows MRF to rehearse ship operations and enhance unit readiness in preparation for a deployment at sea with the MEU. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Soto-Delgado)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado

Marines raid from sea and air

22 Aug 2017 | Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

To respond to piracy threats around the globe that threaten the United States and its interests, the U.S Navy and Marine Corps developed VBSS and the MRF that offer special amphibious capabilities.

MRF consists of a group of highly-trained service members able to conduct specialized maritime operations providing versatile capabilities to the 26th MEU in a spectrum of operations current to today’s conflicts at sea.

“We established unit cohesion with the MRF, which consisted of us providing security for the assault element and also learning fast roping techniques and understanding the fundamentals of securing vital parts of a vessel,” said Cpl. Justin P. Perrault, a team leader with the MRF security element.

The security element is made up of infantry Marines along with law enforcement that provide security, medical evacuation, detaining handling and personal documentation to support the assault element of the MRF.

“I found it interesting to see how the assault element utilizes their close quarter battle tactics,” said Perrault. “However, within an infantry battalion, we have learned different tactics to complete the same mission.”

The two-week operation is the cumulating event of a three-month long course which consisted of security element course, close quarters tactics and aerial-sniper course, urban reconnaissance and surveillance course .

“Working with recon is different than the infantry,” said Sgt. Cory A. Marshall, a squad leader with the MRF. “They have a different way of getting the mission accomplished; I feel that this will help me out in the future. This training is excellent. It was nice to see how every small part comes together to become a big part.”

MRF’s next training evolution is Realistic Urban Training, which provides the MEU the opportunity to conduct training in unfamiliar environments in preparation for an upcoming deployment at sea.

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