JONES COUNTY, N.C. - To keep our marines up to date on training, troops have taken part in missions for about a week as part of an exercise called "Mailed Fist." Friday was the last day of the event and the large scale portion of those exercises. The training is intended to prepare marines for real life situations they could encounter on deployment.
TRAP, or tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, missions are scenarios in which marines attempt to recover a downed pilot from behind enemy lines. Friday, marines from Cherry Point performed a mock TRAP mission at Marine Corps Outlying Field Oak Grove. Anywhere from 400 to 600 marines took part in the training.
In the mock rescue, a party is dispatched to find the pilot of an F-15 who crashed the day before. The party locates the pilot, makes radio contact, and then eliminates a nearby enemy force before extraction can begin.
"You can learn a lot more lessons that way, if you're actually talking to a guy on the ground. you say what do I tell this individual to get him to a point I can actually extract him," Captain Robert Wicker said, of the USMC.
The US Marine Corps last high profile TRAP mission was conducted in March of 2011 in Libya. In that case, marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit enacted the mission. They rescued an air force pilot whose F-15 Strike Eagle crashed due to a mechanical error. The airman crashed while enforcing the United Nations Security Council Resolution of 1973.
"It's good to be proficient in a mission set like this, because if this ever happens, we're going to be able to react quickly," Captain Wicker said.