MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- As the waves crash on Onslow Beach, amphibious assault vehicle crewman with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion prepare their amphibious assault vehicles shortly before conducting company-level beach operations at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Dec. 5, 2015.
“It’s very rare over the last seven or eight years to see an AAV company deploy as a company,” said 1st Lt. Jeffery Horwitz, the executive officer of Alpha Company. “Platoons are concurrently deploying as platoons and not [with their] companies, so everyone coming together and getting on the same page is one of the biggest challenges they faced.”
Even though some of the platoons had never worked side-by-side, the company successfully completed their inland objectives as one unit by moving into offensive positions and making movements to seize the landing zone.
“It was a pretty smooth exercise,” said Cpl. Jorge Dejesus, an amphibious assault vehicle operator with the unit. “With things like this you have to do it to be proficient at it, it’s like a lost art; you have to know your vehicle inside and out so when something goes wrong you know what to do.”
During the exercise, the company conducted the movement from sea to land as if they were part of a mechanized infantry company.
“We deploy as a Marine Air Ground Task Force as part of the battalion landing team with an infantry company and an AAV platoon that creates the mechanized infantry company,” Horwitz said.
Alpha Company is preparing themselves for any upcoming operations on land or at sea.
“We are utilizing the scheme of maneuver that an infantry company commander would give an AAV platoon commander,” Horwitz said. “So when we go out there deployed as a part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit we’ve already ingrained the skill sets of working as a mechanized infantry company both amphibious and on land.”
The Marines of Alpha Company were testing the waters, for some this was their first time working with a different platoon.
“It provides me the [opportunity] to work with platoons I’ve never worked with,” said Dejesus. “I hope to take away how to work with other units and overcome any friction point we meet.”
The unit strives to maintain readiness through continuous training in preparation for deployments and the many needs of the Marine Corps.