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Marines and sailors with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, provide simulated medical attention to a pilot at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton’s K2 Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel exercise March 25. TRAP teams are trained to provide medical care, and simultaneously search for sensitive equipment and materials in a variety of scenarios.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

'First Team' Marines continue training for MEU mission

12 Apr 2010 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly

Pilots and their crews undergo rigorous training to prepare themselves in the event of a crash in a combat zone, but they are not the only personnel who train to be ready. Marines and sailors on the ground and at sea also train to answer the call.

Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conducted a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel exercise at the K2 Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here March 25.

The Marines trained for the two types of TRAP missions, ground and helicopter, with the Special Operation Training Group here in preparation for deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan.

Helicopter TRAP missions are essential to the battalion’s mission and are important to expanding the capabilities of a MEU, said Staff Sgt. Robert P. Kerman, the TRAP section leader for 1st Bn., 7th Marines.

“We may have a small fire power base, but we are quick on our feet,” said Kerman, a Klamath Falls, Ore., native.  Helicopters are the primary mode of transportation for TRAP missions, and the MEU will be able to use this capability to quickly insert Marines to recover aircraft and personnel.

This training enables the section to establish capabilities and develop multi-mission standard operating procedures for engagements the battalion could face on deployment, said 2nd Lt. Mark S. Edgar, the TRAP force commander.

At SOTG, the goal is to make this training as realistic as possible so the Marines are able to experience stress and chaos as they insert, locate the crews and extract them, said Sgt. Neftaly Estremera, an SOTG instructor from Murphy, N.C.

“The bottom line is when those pilots take off to do their job they have that confidence that no matter what happens, Marines are trained and ready to bring them home,” said Lt. Col. Todd P. Simmons, the battalion commander, and a Watervliet, N.Y., native.

The Marines and sailors of 1st Bn., 7th Marines, continue to expand their operational capabilities in preparation for an upcoming deployment with the 31st MEU later this year. The deployment will mark the battalion’s first sea service expedition in more than a decade.

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