MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
For more than 10 years, the Marine Corps has been focused on conflicts involving urban warfare and to endure extremely high temperatures in desert weather conditions. Stepping out of the desert and into the jungle, Marines of Battery B, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, went back to the Vietnam-era when they conducted a field training exercise in jungle-like warfare conditions at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue May 17-19.
“Everything at Bogue that isn’t road or landing strip is vegetation,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph A. Shenk, the 1st platoon commander for Battery B, 2nd LAAD Bn. “Getting to conduct the training we do here in this jungle type environment helps us better prepare for a fight in any clime and place.”
The Marines’ primary training objective over the three-day period was to conduct foot patrols, stationary air defense and convoy patrols with moving air defense.
“Here in garrison our job is to keep fresh on our primary mission, which is low altitude air defense,” said Cpl. Michael S. Hall, a team leader with 1st Platoon, Battery B. “While deployed on the current missions in Afghanistan, we are used for security in patrols and convoys. So this training is really getting us back to the basics of what we need to know to better prepare us for future deployments.”
Shenk said the patrol training is crucial because it allows the Marines to relearn the basics of security missions.
“The patrolling we did today took us through some rough jungle-like terrain that helped the Marines work on their basic skills to help them with their hand and arm signals as well as watching danger zones,” said Shenk. “They worked really well on the patrol, communicating and moving quickly in and out of danger zones.”
For some of the Marines it was their first time out on a field exercise with 2nd LAAD.
“I just recently checked into the unit, and I definitely feel like I need to work on a few things,” said Pfc. Larry D. Holmes, a gunner with 2nd Platoon, Battery B. “I think the training went extremely well, and we learned where the platoon needs to improve.”
Holmes said he feels the training is important not just for the knowledge of the Marines but to the mission of the Marine Corps.
“This is what we are doing over in Afghanistan just in the desert,” said Shenk. “This training takes them back to the basics and with the basics mastered you can begin to evolve into a stronger fighting force. That is the goal of 2nd LAAD – to become the best fighting force for the Marine Corps through building cohesion and working together.”