Photo Information

Marine infantrymen make their way to a compound held by Guam Army National Guard who are acting as an opposing force Sept. 20 during the island seizure portion of Exercise Valiant Shield 2014 at Tinian’s North Field. The Marines were transported from Okinawa to Guam and from there to Tinian. Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only exercise integrating Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps assets, offering real-world joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners. The Marines are with Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. D. A. Walters/ Released)

Photo by Cpl. David Walters

Infantry Marines play vital role in Valiant Shield 2014

22 Sep 2014 | Staff Sgt. Warren Peace The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

U.S. infantry Marines conducted an island seizure exercise on Tinian Sept. 20 during Exercise Valiant Shield 2014.

Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only biennial exercise focusing on the integration of joint training among the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Army. The exercise consists of several different smaller exercises, or vignettes, one of which is the island seizure.

The Marines, with Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, were inserted via two Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. They were met with opposition from Company A, 1st Battalion, 294 Infantry, Guam Army National Guard.

Days earlier, six Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, began collecting intelligence on their objective in the jungles of Tinian, an old World War II era compound. They relayed their intelligence back to Guam where the infantrymen were waiting. 

"The overall mission for this exercise vignette was to seize this (compound)," said Capt. Philipp Rigaut, commanding officer for Company A. "This is a great proof of concepts in our ability to execute while having a lot of things happen at the same time."

Approximately 25 National Guardsmen spent three days and two nights at the compound in order to learn the geography of the surrounding forest and attempt to discover the area where the Marines would most likely attack from. 

During the recon, the senior enlisted personnel of the National Guard emphasized using noise discipline and using their training in order to not get complacent.

"When we are training with other units, the bottom line we tell our soldiers is 'be professional,'" said Staff Sgt. Clarence Elicio, squad leader with the Guam National Guard. "Anytime we are conducting training, we tell them to keep an eye open for the tactics the other units use, then we come together afterward to pick and choose certain things that worked for them that wouldn’t have worked for us, and vice versa."

After hours of recon from both sides and multiple hours of silence, the Marines intercepted the National Guard security and later arrived at the compound. 

Though Marines seized their objective, 1st Lt. Marcelino Figueroa, rifle platoon commander with Company A, believes his Marines learned new things for future conflicts. 

"This keeps our proficiency high, and it’s competitive working with the National Guard," said Figueroa. "We saw their tactics and how they do things versus us. Now we’ll take those lessons and hopefully apply it for another operation."