MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Continuing Promise 2010 conducted a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) June 21-23 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The purpose of the mission rehearsal exercise was to integrate all the elements of the special-purpose MAGTF in order to train the task force’s personnel for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the upcoming deployment to Latin America, said Maj. John R. Siary, the task force’s executive officer.
The MRX enabled the MAGTF leaders the opportunity to employ and asses each combat element’s unique capabilities prior to the deployment. The MRX afforded the opportunity for each element to execute what they are specifically designed to do. The aviation combat element is designated to transport troops and supplies to where it is needed to go, and during the exercise, the ACE executed its mission by placing the ground combat element troops on the ground via helicopter.
Marines and Sailors from Company A, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 774 and Marine Air Control Squadron 2, made up each element of the special-purpose MAGTF for the exercise.
The aviation combat, ground combat and logistics combat elements trained on Camp Lejeune while the command element established a satellite base aboard MCAS Cherry Point to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for their command center.
“It’s important for all of the Marines, ground, aviation, logistics and command to be on the same page,” said 2nd Lt. Patrick Kevin Cahill, 2nd platoon commander, Co. A, 2nd AA Bn. “They have different responsibilities and need to work together to accomplish the mission.”
The objectives of the MRX were to: familiarize the Marines and Sailors with CH-46E helicopters and amphibious assault vehicles, execute ship-to-shore movements and convoy operations, establish water/power production, site security and crowd control, and execute quick reaction force exercises.
All of these objectives were designed specifically for the special-purpose MAGTF Marines and Sailors to have the opportunity to work together to better prepare them for a real-life scenario that they may encounter during their deployment.
While the MRX was designed to complete all objectives to test unit readiness, several obstacles put Marines to the test.
“Working on a compressed timeline to bring all the elements together to function as a single cohesive team was an obstacle we overcame,” said Siary.
Black flag conditions, when temperatures surpass 90 degrees, were reached each day of the MRX and were another obstacle the Marines and Sailors had to overcome during the exercise. These conditions created a real experience of how the conditions will be in the upcoming deployment.
“Operating in black flag conditions from morning to night every day was the most difficult obstacle to overcome during the MRX,” said Capt. Lynn W. Berendsen, the Co. A, 2nd AA Bn. commander. ”Balancing pushing the Marines and their training without hurting anyone was difficult. The Marines and Sailors overcame this with outstanding NCO leadership.”
Approximately 500 Marines and Sailors from the special-purpose MAGTF are scheduled to embark to USS Iwo Jima to support Operation Continuing Promise 2010.
“Continuing Promise 2010 sends a strong message of U.S. commitment and partnership with the people of the Caribbean and Latin America through humanitarian civic assistance and subject matter expert exchanges in addition to being prepared to provide an initial humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response,” added Siary.