Teaching, Breaching, Beaching: 2nd AAB prepares for Bold Alligator
By Cpl. Ashley Lawson, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion performed amphibious breaching operations in preparation for their participation in the combined, joint exercise, Bold Alligator, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 20, 2017.
Starting on the beach, Marines launched their amphibious assault vehicles with mounted MK-154 Mine Clearance Launchers into the water.
Once stabilized, the crewmen opened the top hatches and were able to begin the notional breach operation while communicating to Marines on the shore through the microphones in their helmets.
The battalion is tasked with tactically transporting troops and equipment during ship to shore movements, while maintaining the ability to breach and neutralize enemy threats.
“Breaching is the removal of mines and obstacles that the enemy may place on the beach or inland,” said 1st Lt. Roger Kerstetter, a platoon commander with the unit. “We’re focusing on this because the more repetitions you do, the better you’ll perform.”
Once the obstacles are destroyed, the crewmen are able to approach the beach and allow the assault element to come ashore.
“This training is very helpful at ensuring everyone understands their role and the operation goes smoothly for Bold Alligator,” said Lance Cpl. Jayson Strother, an AAV crewman with the unit. “We have classes twice a week to make sure we are familiar with the safety and standard operating procedures.”
The Marines within the unit gained valuable experience and are able understand how their performance affects every other aspect of the exercise. The training was designed to bolster the Marines’ proficiency and prepare them for supporting future operations.
“This is my last operation with this platoon and their growth is astronomical,” said Kerstetter. “Seeing my Marines go from knowing nothing about the MK-154 to completing this large scale exercise is amazing.”