USNI blogger Force Recon Platoon Commander,”BLUE COLLAR 6″ 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit: Capt. Alex Martin, USMC and his band of brothers aboard the U.S.S. Dubuque (LPD-8)

Force Recon Platoon 15th MEU - August 2010 - USNI Blog

Busy day for Blue Collar yesterday.

“We got word that the pirates wanted to stay on and fight — it was funny b/c when we came alongside and they saw us board and rush the superstructure, you could see the look change in their eyes…they didn’t want to play anymore…you’d be proud of the men today, they represented America with honor. It didn’t need to be a bloodless day (for the pirates) but it was…

The guys executed with the highest violence of action, and yet, highest level of restraint, I’ve ever seen.”

Which he foretold in his July 2010 Proceedings article, “Pirates Beware: Force Recon Has Your Number

“Hunting pirates with the U.S. Navy is what the 15th MEU—a wide array of ships and aircraft and even more Marines and Sailors—has just set sail to do.

The 15th MEU is a distinctive and historic Marine air-ground task force. This armada steams toward Africa more capable and ready for maritime contingency operations than any MEU in a number of years. It has among its numerous traditional capabilities and missions a trained, validated, capable, and lethal instrument now called the unit’s Maritime Raid Force Capability (MRFC), a fully integrated Navy-Marine Corps team with the capacity to conduct visit-board-search-seizure (VBSS), kinetic strikes on non-compliant targets, maritime infrastructure seizure and reinforcement, host-nation training, and other maritime raid and interdiction operations as directed.

…we have been training to kill pirates for an entire year, which is also not as sexy as it sounds. It’s plain hard. We executed months of surgical shooting, combat conditioning, diving, high-altitude low-opening (HALO) and high-altitude high-opening (HAHO) parachute operations, and training that included rappelling, fast-roping, climbing, hand-to-hand combat, communications, knife fighting, combat trauma, explosives, and intelligence-gathering to prepare us for real-world maritime raid operations. The training was phenomenal, aggressive, and (in a different-from-Swedish sense of the word) fun.”

Looks like you made it Blue Collar. Bravo Zulu!

More from Alex on Piracy: The Reality of Piracy

Helo Casting - Summer 2010

Posted by admin in Foreign Policy, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy, Piracy

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  • Great work and a great result. Given that this was not the only vessel being held by pirates in the area that this group continues to successfully prove their training and methods.

    Be nice to see them free all of the held vessels in short order.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Freakin’ excellent! Bravo Zulu!!!

  • Matt Yankee

    Awesome work and happy hunting! Sure wish we could send them ashore and have some more fun…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “The guys executed with the highest violence of action, and yet, highest level of restraint, I’ve ever seen.”

    Beautifully put. If only people know how much maturity, professionalism, skill, and downright raw courage that takes.

    Well-done, Marines. Warriors, all. Semper Fi!

  • LTC Christopher J. Stark

    “Wars are won by people who get out and actually do things”
    George Patton

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    A very nice, classy, professional piece of work, Marines.

    “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle”.

    Good news, indeed.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    “The suspected pirates were all likely in their 20s and 30s, and some of them didn’t have shoes or shirts, Marines on board at the time of the raid said. After they gave up, their fear was obvious, said Capt. Alexander Martin, commander of the force recon platoon. They have been detained aboard the guided missile cruiser Princeton, Berger said, but officials would not immediately say where they may be taken next.
    “As soon as the first stack of [Marines] made our way into the bridge, their hands were up, their weapons were down, they moved to their knees and they were compliant,” Martin said. “At that point, they were pretty scared. One guy actually defecated himself. … He sh– his pants. I don’t know if that can go on the news or not, but that actually happened.”
    –Conway Endorses Force Recon After Pirate Rescue
    (NAVY TIMES 09 SEP 10) … Dan Lamothe

    Aparently that can go in the news… Sir, I owe you a beer for that quote.

  • Ken Beck

    effin BZ

  • Tom

    Great job Marines.

    Big question is….What about the NECC Level III teams that were trained to this level (two years ago), but were disestablished due to the lack of “demand signal”? Why was the rug yanked out from under these teams at the end of 2009? Not to take away from this accomplishment, but makes you think some on where the Navy is making its priorities.

  • Governments do not apply full effort to protecting our vessels and crews from pirates.

    The Dutch defence minister MIDDELKOOP never served in our armed forces as he “Does not like discipline”!
    He stated that he will not jeopardize the lives of marines in defending ships!!

    Many years ago I recognized the fact that pirates cannot be stopped by warships as is clear today.
    Even vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, Combined Maritime Forces now understands this.
    Fighting pirates with barbed wire, fire hoses and prayers is out of the question.

    I am strongly opposed to arming ships crews, they should be protected by marines of the flag state, and propose a different way to address the problem:

    Protection Against Pirates by Captain Jaap Stengs

    This plan proposes to help protect shipping vessels from pirate attacks. Because ship-owners and governments will not arm their ships, pirates are given a free-for-all opportunity. Because piracy occurs mostly off the shores of countries with widespread corruption, some authorities cooperate with the pirates. Overlooked or assisted by the authorities and preying on unarmed vessels, attacking pirates have nothing to fear and can act without peril.
    By contrast, when set upon by pirates, the towing vessel London’s crew fired distress rockets and the pirates ran for cover.

    Protection provided by naval man-of-war ships is not effective because the seas are vast. The Strait of Malacca is between 25 and 80 nautical miles wide. Nor can ships rely on assistance from shore radio stations. When the Dutch vessel FRANS was on fire off Dubai her emergency call was not answered.

    “A proper pirate is a dead one”, is an old Wijdenesser saying. Yet arming sailors is not the answer. Handling a gun properly takes months of training and, after all, sailors did not choose a fighting career. Vigilance is the key. These days, only fun-loving yachties fly the Jolly Roger. Pirates may disguise themselves as peaceful fisherman until they suddenly attack.

    Guarding the ship against piracy cannot be left solely to the ships’ crew. Dedicated ship’s duties do not leave extra time for patrolling nor do crew members possess the proper training. Defending against boarding pirates with charged fire hoses and a prayer is not effective against heavily armed attackers in the middle of nowhere. The ISPS (International Ship and Port Facilities Code) does not offer enough protection.

    Seven to ten well-trained and heavily armed marines should be stationed aboard ships transiting known perilous passages. Marines have but one objective; guard and defend. Three marines should be on continuous watch duty; one on the port bridge wing, one on the starboard bridge wing and one on the stern. This applies at sea as well as in port. Training will be needed for best cooperation between merchant sailors and marines. Of course, language and cultural differences will need to be addressed.

    TNO-FEL, a Dutch research institute, developed a training module to teach sailors how to deal with pirates peacefully. Lack of interest from ship owners put an end to it.

    This document may be used as a whole only.

    © 2004 SEA-BORN WIJDENES HOLLAND (April 2008).

    Captain Jaap Stengs (Ret.)
    Nautilus.NL member #1156012

    Zuiderdijk 41
    1608 MV Wijdenes
    [email protected]

    FAQ’s and discussions.

    Q: Isn’t your plan to expensive?
    A: Considering the value of lost lives, lost personal effects and money, lost cargo and ships, operational coast of patrolling man of war and ransom money, we may break even or better.

    Q: Your plan is simple. Should it be more detailed?
    A: Experts on action by marines should work out the plans in detail, not I.

    Q: Ship-owners will not pay for the marines. Who will?
    A: Governments should bear the cost of defending their territory, including their fleet.
    Or do you pay for the cruising police car and officers?

    Q: What do you, a merchant Captain, know about protection by marines?
    A: In 1990 I hired nine marines in the Port of Warri, Nigeria to protect ship, crew and general cargo. No one was harmed, nothing was stolen.