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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

"Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command"

Twentynine Palms, California
The Original Steel Knights

By Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center | December 14, 2012

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Marines with Co. E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, run along the wall of a building during their assault on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012 during Steel Knight 13.

Marines with Co. E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, run along the wall of a building during their assault on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012 during Steel Knight 13. (Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu)


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Marines from Company C, 1st Tank Battalion, prepare their tank for the day’s attack on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012, during Steel Knight 13.

Marines from Company C, 1st Tank Battalion, prepare their tank for the day’s attack on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012, during Steel Knight 13. (Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu)


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Marines with Co. E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, run into a building during their assault on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012, during Steel Knight 13.

Marines with Co. E, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, run into a building during their assault on Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012, during Steel Knight 13. (Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu)


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MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --

1st Tank Battalion has had a stake in Exercise Steel Knight since the program's inception in 1991. The battalion is still participating to this day.

Company C of 1st Tanks took part in Steel Knight 13 providing support for 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment during an attack on the Combat Center’s Range 210 Dec. 6.

Exercise Steel Knight is a combined arms live fire exercise and is 1st Marine Division’s largest annual training exercise. The exercise takes place at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the Combat Center and involves over a dozen units from both installations.

1st Tanks gave 2/4, a unit based out of Camp Pendleton, a taste of what it’s like working alongside tanks.

“Today we worked on the mechanized assault course,” said Capt. Harry Consaul, company commander, Co. C, 1st Tanks. “Essentially, it is an infantry company reinforced. They do a conventional attack through several objectives.”

As one of the tenant commands at the Combat Center, 1st Tanks had a lot to show 2/4 in ways to integrate their Marines with the armored assets and how to navigate the ranges.

“It's good for 1st Tanks to be out here,” Consaul said. “We know the training areas really well. We know the ins-and-outs. We do the mechanized assault course a lot. We operate in these training areas. We play a lot with TTECG. So we're pretty well-versed in the area. That can help influence 2/4, a Camp Pendleton unit with a lot of insight to help conduct their attacks.”

The tank company was attached to Regimental Combat Team 5 for the exercise and provided them with armored assets through the training cycle.

“We’re here to reinforce them with tank fire and armored mobility to train their Marines in tank-infantry integration.” Consaul said.

The units worked side-by-side in the attack. They worked together to accomplish their training objectives.

“We do a little bit of everything.” said Cpl. Andrey Sotnik, tanker, C Co., 1st Tanks. “We support grunts here at (Military Operation on Urban Terrain) town. They get used to working with us once we go to Afghanistan or deploy to another country.”

SK 13 integrates many different assets. The exercise used all elements of the whole spectrum of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. 1st Tanks and 2/4 were helped by artillery and air assets during this part of the exercise.   

All of the units are working toward Steel Knight's final exercise, where they will put together what they learned and combine it all in the three-day finale.

“The tanks here allow us to show the capabilities of what a tank brings to he infantry,” Consaul said. “A lot of infantry don’t get to work with tanks. So this is a great opportunity to see the tanks in  action and how we can help them in achieving their objectives and accomplishing their mission.”
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