OKINAWA, Japan --
Marines and sailors participated in Exercise Chromite Dec. 2-6 at the Central Training Area and other locations on Okinawa.
The exercise included a multitude of units within 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, participating in numerous full-scale mock combat missions against an enemy simulated by fellow Marines.
The scenarios were designed to increase the Marines’ skills as war-fighters and simulate the stress associated with planning and controlling multiple units in a chaotic, combat environment.
“In this scenario, the (fictional) nation of ‘Centralia’ has weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons,” said 1st Lt. Jeffrey A. Reilly, a ground intelligence officer with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “They have attempted to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile and it failed. We deployed troops in response of the launch, which prompted their declaration of war against the U.S.”
During the nearly weeklong exercise, Marines and sailors completed multiple missions similar to scenarios experienced in combat operations.
One of the training missions challenged Marines to execute a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, also known as TRAP, near Combat Town in the CTA. Marines acting as local villagers provided a sense of realism to the opposing force encountered during that particular situation.
“(In the scenario) the pilot was shot down two days ago, and has been evading capture since then,” said Capt. Gavin Lutz, a ground intelligence officer with 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, who acted as the downed pilot for the event. “He has made it to a neutral village where the locals have helped keep him safe. He has reached out and support has arrived to rescue him.”
After patrolling to the pilot’s suspected location, the role-players greeted the Marines like local villagers might.
The “villagers” caused confusion and complicated the Marines’ search efforts by purposefully misleading them and bargaining for the location of the pilot, according to Lutz.
When the Marines finally determined the location of the pilot they surrounded him, verified his identity through an authentication process, and ensured that he was healthy enough for transport to a designated landing zone.
“This has been a huge opportunity,” said Lutz. “It has allowed the Marines to accomplish some of their mission-essential tasks such as TRAP missions, convoys and other things of that nature, right here on Okinawa.”
As the infantrymen exited the training area, they patrolled to their landing zone with an air of confidence.
“This was my first time doing a TRAP mission,” said Cpl. Muhammad-Adil Naseer, a mortarman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, under the unit deployment program. “We got quite a bit of training out of it and it’s good to see it finally all put together.”