Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit, p.1Tom Clancy
Table of Contents
Marine 101: Ethos
Warrior Prince of the Corps: An Interview with General Charles Krulak
Transformation: Making Marines
Tools of the Trade
Getting There: The Gator Navy
A Guided Tour of the26th MEU (SOC)
Getting Ready: 26th MEU (SOC)training and operations
The MEU (SOC)in the Real World
Conclusion: A Corps for Five Hundred Years...
NOVELS BY TOM CLANCY
The Hunt for Red October
Red Storm Rising
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
Clear and Present Danger
The Sum of All Fears
Debt of Honor
The Bear and the Dragon
The Teeth of the Tiger
SSN: Strategies of Submarine Warfare
Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship
Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment
Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing
Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit
Airborne: A Guided Tour of an Airborne Task Force
Carrier: A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier
Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U.S. Army Special Forces
Into the Storm: A Study in Command (written with General Fred Franks, Jr., Ret.)
Every Man a Tiger (written with General Charles Horner, Ret.)
Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces
(written with General Carl Stiner, Ret., and Tony Koltz)
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Berkley trade paperback edition / November 1996
eISBN : 978-1-429-55505-0
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For Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady.
A downed and doomed "zoomie" whose faith in his God,
his country, his service, and himself,
along with the help of a few Marines, brought him
home to us. God bless him, and
the members of the 24th MEU (SOC)
who made us all proud to be Americans once again.
It is now time for the best part of book writing: thanking those who helped make it possible. We start with my longtime partner, researcher, and friend, John D. Gresham. Once again, he traveled across the landscape, from Fort Worth, Texas, to Rota, Spain, gathering the stories and digging out the facts that make this book special. Perhaps most important of all, he kept the promises to our partners in industry and the military, which are the things that make books like this possible. Again, we have also been given the gift of wisdom and experience from series editor Professor Martin H. Greenberg. Laura Alpher is again to be complimented for her wonderful portfolio of drawings, which have added so much to this book. Tony Koltz and Mike Markowitz also need to be recognized for their continuing support that was so critical and welcome. Thanks again goes to Cindi Woodrum, Diana Patin, and Roselind Greenberg for their support in backing us up as always.
A book like this would be impossible to produce without the support of senior service personnel in leadership positions, and this one is no exception. Our first thanks go to General Charles "Chuck" Krulak, the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps. Thanks also to his hardworking PAO, Major Betsey Arends. Another group, less well known but equally important, that was vital to our efforts consisted of the members of the various USMC public affairs offices (PAOs) and protocol organizations that handled our numerous requests for visits and information. Tops on our list were Brigadier General Terry Murray, Lieutenant Colonel Patricia Messer, and Lieutenant Mike Neuman of the Headquarters PAO. Along with them, Major General Paul Wilkerson, Captain Whitney Mason, Lieutenant Scott Gordon, and many others worked hard to get their stories across. Down at Quantico, Colonel Mick Nance and Gunner Bill Wright made our visits both memorable and livable in the incredible heat of 1995. At NAVSEA, Captain George Brown, Barbara A. Jyachosky, Sue Fili, Captain Manrin Gauthier, Captain Stan Harris, Colonel Al DeSantis, George Pickins, Paul Smith, and Gene Shoults told the shipping story. Over at the intelligence agencies, once again there was Jeff Harris and Major Pat Wilkerson at NRO, Russ Eggnor's photo shop at CHINFO, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Vosler and Penny Chesnut at DMA, and Dwight Williams at DARO. Many other helpful Marines studded the landscape to pass on their wisdom to us. Thanks to you all.
It is out at the units that you get the real story, though, and this year was a treasure chest of experiences and new friends. At the 26th MEU (SOC), there was the incredible Colonel Jim Battaglini, who is a national asset, along with such memorable personalities as Colonel "Fletch" Fergeson, Sergeant Major Bill Creech, Gunny Sergeant Tim Schearer, and Major Dennis Arnellio. Over at BLT 2/6, there was Lieutenant Colonel John Allen, an officer and Virginia gentleman. HMM-264 was led by the crusty and wise Lieutenant Colonel "Peso" Kerrick, and MSSG-26 by the capable Lieutenant Colonel Donald K. Cooper. Thanks also to Brigadier General Marty Berndt and Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gunter for sharing their adventures from 1995. And for all the other Marines at all the bases, we say, "Oohrah!" and many thanks for guarding the walls of freedom.
Out in the fleet, there were many wonderful folks as well. Special thanks to Captain C. C. Buchanan, who made PHIBRON 4 a great place to work and learn. Captains Ray Duffey and Stan Greenawalt as well as their incredible crew made USS Wasp our home-away-from-home. Captain John M. Carter of USS Shreveport and Commander T. E. McKnight of USS Whidbey Island are to be thanked as well for letting us break bread and share time with them and their crews. And out in the Med, Commander Mike John, Lieutenant Commander Bill Fennick, Ensign Dan Hetledge, and many others made our trip to Spain special.
Again, thanks are due to our various industrial partners, without whom all the information on the various aircraft, weapons, and systems
Again, we give thanks for all of our help in New York, especially Robert Gottlieb, Debra Goldstein, and Matt Bialer at William Morris. At Berkley Books, our appreciation again goes out to our editor, John Talbot, as well as David Shanks, Patti Benford, and Kim Waltemyer. For retiring friends like Jim Myatt and Robin Higgins, thanks for all you did and gave to the Corps and the country. Thanks also to our press pals, including Gidget Fuentes, Lisa Burgess, and Chris Plant. And for all the folks who took us on adventures, thanks for teaching the ignorant how things work for real. For our friends and loved ones, we have to once again thank you. For being there when we can't. God's blessings and goodwill upon you all.
On January 5th, 1991, a third night of fitful sleep gave way to another day of incredibly tense living for U.S. Ambassador Bishop and the 281 personnel trapped with him in Somalia's capital city of Mogadishu. Included were officials from thirty nations, 12 diplomatic heads of mission, and 39 Soviets. After a message for help and two aborted rescue attempts by other nations, those remaining in the war-torn country, uncertain of their future, joined ranks and hunkered down inside the besieged and soon-to-be-overrun American Embassy compound.
Aboard the USS Trenton (LPD-14), 466 nautical miles away, two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters with forty-six Marines and 9 Navy SEALs lifted off the flight deck into the Arabian night. Their mission--to evacuate the American Embassy in Mogadishu. After flying for seventeen hours, and two midair refuelings, the helos flew over the unsuspecting city at a twenty-five-foot altitude and landed in the compound at 0710--just as the rebels were scaling the walls. Within minutes Marines had secured the embassy. Shortly thereafter, the two helicopters departed with the first 61 evacuees. Less than twenty-four hours later, all 281 personnel had been successfully evacuated. The Amphibious Readiness Group with its embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)--ARG/MEU (SOC)--welcomed back its tired but successful warriors and quietly steamed back over the horizon.
Four years later and four seas away, a fatigued Air Force captain entered the sixth day of his fight for survival in rugged northern Bosnia. At home, a nation awaited news of her first native son shot down while supporting United Nations and NATO operations in this conflict. Out of sight, eighty-seven nautical miles away aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), another MEU (SOC) launched its Tactical Rescue of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) force. In the pre-dawn darkness of June 8th, 1995, with less than a two-hour notice, forty-three Marines boarded two helicopters and launched into the Adriatic dawn. Joined by Cobra helicopter gunships and Harrier jump jets, they flew east over the missile-infested mountain to recover a tired, but relieved, Captain Scott O'Grady from the grasp of the pursuing Serbs.
Within twenty-four hours the rescued pilot was en route back to his home station at Aviono, and ultimately to the White House. Back aboard ship, the Marines cleaned their weapons and maintained their helicopters and equipment. They then rested as the ships sailed quietly over the horizon toward another readiness training exercise, all part of their scheduled 180-day tour of duty afloat. In both of these sagas, the individual of the hour was the United States Marine. For over 220 years, Marines have served at the end of America's operational reach--on freedom's far frontiers. These Marines are the backbone of the ARG/MEU (SOC) team, our regional commanders' force of choice for both forward presence and crisis response. When American interests are threatened abroad, Marines are on scene answering the call.
Marines and MEU (SOC)s are not special operations forces. They are general purpose forces who have successfully completed several months of intense specialized training, education and evaluation. Then they deploy forward with ARGs at their country's bidding--often in harm's way. They are America's warrior class: there when needed and prepared to "do what must be done." They seek only to serve their nation, and they enjoy the strong camaraderie born of shared sacrifice and hardship.
Marines have been doing this with rare consistency and success for more than 220 years. Since their inception in November 1775, when our Founding Fathers "...resolved, that two Battalions of Marines be raised...[and]...that particular care be taken that no person be appointed or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen or so acquainted with maritime affairs as are able to serve to advantage by sea," Marines have continually demonstrated their readiness and utility. On their inaugural amphibious raid in the Caribbean in March 1776, Marines captured British cannon and powder to support the Continental Army. Since then they have been our nation's premier naval expeditionary warfighters, ever capable of executing a wide range of crucial missions "from the sea." On numerous occasions the Navy/Marine team has responded quickly and successfully to Presidential, Congressional, or military orders with such wide latitudes as "attack, take, and destroy as you may find," "perform duties as may be directed," or "render appropriate assistance." A 220-year legacy of readiness, teamwork, and courage is the result. Generations of Marines have repeatedly proven the veracity of both the Marine Corps motto of "Semper Fidelis" ("Always Faithful") and the reputation earned at Iwo Jima, where "uncommon valor was a common virtue."
Beginning with the "Banana Wars" in Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Nicaragua in the 1920s and 1930s, the Marine Corps bred a new generation of lean, battle-hardened fighters who were as proficient at amphibious landings and long-range jungle patrols as they were at urban warfare and quelling civil disturbances. Their stock-in-trade was readiness, versatility, and a deadly earnestness in fulfilling any assigned mission. These Marines got there fast, and with surprise, and came from the sea. They traveled light, fought hard, and lasted long. This reputation was not lost on either actual or potential adversaries. From these "interwar" experiences came the doctrine and training that would propel the Marine Corps for over forty years. The 1933 Tentative Manual for Landing Operations and the 1939 Small Wars Manual were the result. With the evolution of these operational practices in places like China and the Caribbean came the concept that the United States Marine Corps played a unique role in America's national defense. Besides being amphibious, Marines emerged as America's premier force-in-readiness.
As World War II dawned and our Corps grew by over fivefold, the legacy of ready and versatile soldiers of the sea was emblazoned on yet another age of American youth. Lieutenant Colonel Merritt "Red Mike" Edson's 1st Raider Battalion conducted its August 7th, 1942, landing on Tulagi with Marines steeped in this training and tradition. So too did the 1st Parachute Battalion that same day on Gavutu. Lieutenant Colonel Evans Carlson's 2nd Raider Battalion raided Makin Island a day later with Marines forged in the same fire. Each of these new units harnessed the raw energy of "basic Marine," and emboldened them with special and focused training, unit cohesion, and clarity of purpose. These units were special only because they consisted of special warriors: Ma
These hard-earned lessons of the mid-20th century sustained Marine Corps training through Vietnam and well into the 1970s. With a prolonged investment in jungle and counter-guerrilla warfare as well as mountain and arctic warfare, the Marine Corps gradually refined a growing body of special operations capabilities. This included helicopter-borne reinforcement operations like "Sparrow Hawk" and "Bald Eagle," amphibious and riverine raids, snipers and discriminate shooters, and non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) and TRAPs. What may have been missing in doctrinal cohesion was more than made up for with battle-tested tactical proficiency and well-honed operational procedures. Regardless of whether conducting long-range deep reconnaissance patrols or direct action missions like sniping, Marines had a well-earned reputation as fighters with courage, savvy, and skill.
After Vietnam, the U.S. military refocused on the Cold War, and the Marine Corps returned to its historic role as the nation's amphibious force-in-readiness. In the Pacific, Marines evacuated Saigon and Phnom Penh, boarded the Mayaguez, and rescued hurricane victims. From the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Marine Amphibious Units (MAUs) executed NEOs and peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, Grenada, and Beirut. Around the globe, MAUs planned for and rehearsed countless other contingencies. From 1983 through early 1985, these lessons were codified with the activation of the new Marine Amphibious Unit/Special Operations Capable--MAU (SOC). This two-thousand-Marine unit was built around a Marine infantry Battalion Landing Team (BLT) as the Ground Combat Element (GCE), a composite helicopter squadron as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and a MAU Service Support Group (MSSG) as Combat Service Support Element (CSSE). This triad, along with the parent MAU Command Element (CE), represented the "pointy end of the spear" in America's foreign policy.
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