Marines conquer White Beach waters
WHITE BEACH, Okinawa, japan -- Laying on the soft, sandy beach with the bright sun shining in the sky, enjoying the crisp ocean breeze and the smell of the salt air are what most would think of when imagining a relaxing day at the beach.
However, for the Marines of Company A, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, this type of day is perfect for training and getting in touch with their amphibious roots.
The Marines of Company A, which is part of 9th ESB, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted combat rubber reconnaissance craft training at White Beach Naval Facility Oct. 12 to ensure they are able to operate the craft properly and prepare for upcoming exercises.
During the training, the Marines learned how to maneuver their boats in different formations as well as use hand and arm signals to communicate with each other while on the water, according to Gunnery Sgt. Chitty Phouthapadith, the training and current operations chief for the battalion.
"They were taught the hand and arm signals to move into a staggered column formation, change direction, halt, slow down, or increase speed and take the lead," said Phouthapadith.
The Marines also received familiarization training with the combat rubber reconnaissance craft from Cpl. Ethan A. Rackley, a combat engineer with the battalion, who is the only Marine in the unit to graduate the coxswain course.
"We are out here to improve our small-boat handling skills using the combat rubber reconnaissance craft," said Rackley. "It's a stepping stone for us because we will use a bridge erection boat, which is larger, to build a float bridge next week."
The Marines received classroom lessons before participating in practical application exercises, which enhanced their performance, according to Rackley.
"They were immediately able to apply what was taught to them using the craft," said Rackley. "The most difficult part is steering, but I feel that they executed the task well."
Having this training is important for Marines within the Asia-Pacific region, according to 1st Lt. Matthew C. Librizzi, a platoon commander with Company A.
"Being stationed out here in this region makes this training especially useful to these Marines," said Librizzi. "Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by the ocean. This training will allow these combat engineers to push forward with other units wherever they are needed."
The training is not only beneficial to the Marines with Company A, but to all Marines, according to Lance Cpl. Nathan A. Morningstar, a combat engineer with the battalion.
"I think the training is good for all Marines," said Morningstar. "If a Marine has a chance to get licensed on these craft, I would strongly recommend doing it because it will be a useful skill in the future."