MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Approximately 250 Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 departed Cherry Point Oct. 15-17 for Integrated Training Exercise in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
The squadron will spend approximately five weeks training for future deployments.
“The unit is pushing out a detachment to Operation Enduring Freedom in the early part of next year,” said Lt. Col. Sean C. Killeen, commanding officer of MWSS-274. “This ITX is an opportunity to go out and do a mission rehearsal exercise in preparation.”
The training will encompass five major areas.
One area of focus will be basic warfighting, consisting of shooting, moving and communicating. Another will focus on aviation ground support, consisting of air field services, engineering and transportation. The third focus will be air base ground defense, where Marines will provide security for a forward operating base or a Fuel, Arm and Refueling Point. Another focus will be base recovery after attack, where Marines will rebuild an airfield and get it back up and operational after an attack or incident. The final focus will consist of command and control for all of the previous focuses.
“ITX is geared toward training in each of those areas to make sure we are proficient and ready to go to the fight,” said Killeen. “The Marines have a chance to conduct their basic warfighting skills.”
For the Marines who are a part of ITX but not going to be deploying next year, this training helps them to build their proficiency in their job.
“We can do similar type of training here on the East coast,” said 1st Lt. Seth M. Prior, communications officer with MWSS-274. “But we don’t get a lot of time with the level of integration we get from ITX.”
This training will help prepare Marines to perform their job in the field while under pressure of possible attacks.
“Nothing can really prepare you for what it is to get hit by an (Improvised Explosive Device) or an ambush except to recreate it as best as you can” said Lance Cpl. Nathaniel P. Richardson, a water support technician with MWSS-274. “In ITX, you basically have to live what you are going to live inevitably when you deploy. It puts you in situations that are unfavorable.”
With five weeks of training ahead, Marines will practice their military occupational specialty skills as well as retrain their basic warfighting skills and solidify the statement, every Marine a rifleman.
“This will be the first time the Marines execute the missions that they have been working hard for over the past year on,” said Killeen. “The Marines will use this as a capstone advantage to pull everything together and train one last time before we push the detachment out.”