TEMPE, Ariz. – An MV-22B Osprey flew over the crowd, F/A 18 Hornets soared across a clear blue sky and helicopters hovered above the ground just long enough for Marines to jump out and secure a perimeter at the Arizona State University stadium.
The Marines are in town for Marine Week Phoenix and took the opportunity to show off a variety of resources and capabilities during a Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration Sept. 11, 2015.
Instructors from the Martial Arts Center of Excellence exhibited different levels of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, ranging from tan belt to second-degree black belt. Military working dogs, and their handlers, showed the different ways a canine can take a bite out of a hostile threat.
“Reaching out to the community is important because the community is our main supporter,” Sgt. Derek Patrick, a military working dog trainer from Camp Pendleton. “So this event is a good way to show the public all the different types of assets that we have.”
Marine Band San Diego gave a musical performance and the Silent Drill Platoon showed off their pristine moves as the Corps pulled out all the stops to wow Arizona crowds. Finally, the MAGTF kicked off the big event. An announcer set the stage for the mock scenario to be performed.
Snipers laid out in front of the audience, barely visible with their camouflage clothing. Aircraft circled above the stadium. Troops were inserted at the far end of the field to expose security tactics used in real operations.
“After coming to see this today, I understand a little bit more about the Marine Corps,” said Kirk Colburn, Phoenix area resident. “There are a lot more elements to the Marine Corps than I ever knew.”
The MAGTF put on an exacting show, maximizing air capabilities, ground movements and fire team rushes to show the public a detailed display of the Corps’ capabilities.
“As a Marine, I know what our capabilities are, but I really enjoyed seeing the demonstration,” Cpl. Anthony Mercurio, a machinist with Combat Logistics Regiment 15. “As much as I liked it, I can’t imagine the impact it must have had on people who don’t have any background knowledge of what we do. It was an amazing show.”
Despite the high temperatures and bright sun, the large crowd all applauded the day’s events, and experience how the Corps fights first hand. Cpl. Nicholas Brown, a generator mechanic with CLR-15 said he appreciated the chance to interact with his home community.
“I had the opportunity to visit my family in the crowd and see the show from their perspective,” said Brown, a Shillow, Ariz., native. “Everybody has been so supportive and it’s great to see all the smiling faces. It’s been hot, but it’s made for a warm welcoming.”