August 13, 2015 – MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, California — Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted mounted patrol training during the unit’s Integrated Training Exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, Aug. 10, 2015.
The training prepared the unit for future Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force operations and Large Scale Exercise 15, a combined U.S. Marine Corps, Canadian and British exercise.
“We have convoys that will be going through during Large Scale Exercise 15,” said Sgt. Vincent Tornabene, a platoon sergeant with the unit. “They’re going to have similar situations. It’s all a buildup leading into the LSE, so once we get through this it will make life easier.”
ITX and LSE-15 are both designed to provide Marines and sailors with realistic training that will provide them with the skills needed if they are called into action and need to rapidly deploy in response to a crisis or contingency.
“A lot of the guys that we have here have never been to ITX or never been deployed,” said. Cpl. Derek King, a landing support specialist with the unit. “Coming here is an eye opener to what it might be like when they get over there. It’s as realistic as we’re going to get without deploying forward and being in a dangerous situation.”
The patrols encountered ambushes designated by flares shot into the air and small explosives thrown by evaluators. Marines responded with machine gun and rocket fire directed at targets in the hills on both sides of the road, and finally an artillery strike on targets approximately 1,500 meters away.
An IED attack simulation left the Marines with a vehicle in need of towing by the unit’s recovery vehicle and two wounded Marines awaiting evacuation by helicopter.
“This training is important for the Marines because it will help us when we go forward,” Tornabene said. “It’s not a question of whether or not they are trying to react, it’s just them reacting based on everything we go through here.”
Evaluators followed each vehicle throughout the exercise and assessed the Marines at each stage to ensure they understood the proper course of action during the training.
“Everything’s graded and critiqued so we know what we have to improve on before we go forward and deploy to a hostile country.” King said. “The Marines learned a lot of things about their jobs that they didn’t know before. You’ll never know exactly what your job entails until you hit the fleet and actually do exercises like this.”