Marines use Utah desert to practice taking down mock terrorist camp

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ST. GEORGE, Utah – Close to 200 Marines landed at the St. George airport Thursday afternoon as part of a training that spanned nine days and three states.

The 13th Expeditionary Unit is based out of Camp Pendleton, California. They used St. George as a temporary refueling spot and a chance to test out some big birds. Marines brought Osprey Helicopter and Super Hercules aircraft for some hands-on practice.

"It allows us to use the Osprey, which is our tilt rotor aircraft," says 13th MEU Captain Ted Vickers. "It gives us tremendous capability as far as range that we really have never had before."

The simulation sent Marines into the southern Utah desert to take down a mock terrorist training camp, as well as capture a "high value target." Expeditionary units are made up of various personnel from ground, air and logistic backgrounds. They're considered among the frontlines of military defense.

"We all put these into one command," says Major Stuart Glenn. "So you really get the synergy of what we call a Marine air-ground task force."

Planes landed late in the afternoon and the training exercise went well into the night. At the end of the training mission, troops loaded back into the aircraft and went back to their training base in El Centro, California.

The 13th MEU is training for deployment sometime this summer.