September 30, 2015 – MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Marines with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, participated in their annual training exercise, Island Viper, at the Boondocker Training Area aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Sept. 22, 2015.
The purpose of Island Viper is to help companies within the battalion ensure their service members are properly trained and have met all training requirements before deployment. By conducting this training, “Trinity” ensures its Marines are combat ready and are prepared for future exercises such as Lava Viper or their Integrated Training Exercise.
“Right now, the battalion is focusing on its training and readiness tasks, which are intended to help the Marines by solidifying their standard operating procedures,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Sperry, the operations chief with 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “Island Viper is an exercise in which we run simultaneous training to perfect our combat operations.”
Sperry, a Hamilton, Mont., native, said the entirety of “Trinity” is involved in the training exercise, conducting various operations such as squad live-fire ranges to running logistics out of the COC at the battalion level.
“This exercise focuses on small unit leadership, allowing the Marines to better work with their teams to build a more cohesive unit,” he said. “It’s important for these individual units to see the battalion function on a larger scale. Everything we’re doing out here is to help those ground Marines understand that they have our support and don’t have to bayonet their way through the enemy.”
Gunnery Sgt. Mike Fuller, the radio chief for 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, said exercises such as Island Viper are important because it helps get the Marines in a “fight tonight” mentality and provides hands-on experience with their various equipment or weaponry.
“This improves communication within the battalion and gives the Marines the crawl, walk, run aspect of operating in a combat environment,” said Fuller, a Louisville, Ky., native. “This enables the battalion to maintain its combat readiness by providing the chance to improve communication amongst the companies and regiment.”
Fuller said this is the first time a lot of the Marines have worked with other companies in a simulated combat environment. He said the exercise is beneficial because it helps them get to know other better while also improving their skills in the field.
“Island Viper allows the Marines to do training and readiness events, get their hands on the gear and maintain their skills with that gear, as well as the gear they might not get to use on an everyday basis,” he said.
Fuller said during the exercise, service members are able to set up different equipment, from radios to the COC, and they’re able to see how everything functions and get a taste for what they would experience in a combat environment.
“Hopefully, by going though this training, they will not hesitate to act when the time comes for them to use what they have learned,” Fuller said. “No matter their rank, these Marines will one day take positions like mine. Through this experience, they will be better at making quick decisions that will make all the difference if these guys are out on deployment.”
Fuller said he hopes the Marines take plenty experience out of the training and they gain knowledge about their specific role while in that kind of environment.
“While I do want them to focus on learning all they can, I think it’s important for them to have some fun doing it,” he said. “I want these guys to build camaraderie and cohesion within the battalion, and this is one of the best ways to do that.”
Fuller said by building up the team mindset within the various companies, the “Trinity” Marines will be able to communicate the best and, in the even that they deploy together, everyone will know their role and trust each other to do their job or help out when it’s necessary.
“The Marines out here have been doing a great job and I want to thank them for all of the hard work they’ve put in to help accomplish the mission,” Fuller said. “They have been motivating both the other leadership and myself, and they have proved they really are the best war fighters we have to offer.”
By Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas, Marine Corps Base Hawaii