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Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
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Public Works Division personnel with the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), clear water out of a low point due to Tropical Storm Hilary at MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, California, Aug. 21, 2023. MCAGCC is committed to ensuring effective and efficient recovery actions following extreme weather. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Anna Higman)

Photo by LCpl. Anna Higman

Proper preparation leads to easier execution: The Combat Center recovers from Tropical Storm Hilary, transitions to MWX

24 Aug 2023 | Cpl. Breanna Eason Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, Calif. – The Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, California, is on track to be fully operational after the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary this week. Hilary passed over MCAGCC and the local area between August 18 and August 21, 2023.

"Public Works Division’s immediate recovery effort will focus on restoring power around the base and clearing roads and other debris," said Ensign Parker Bagshaw, assistant public works officer, Public Works Division (PWD), MCAGCC.

The installation initiated recovery efforts that facilitated a smooth transition back to normal operations to ensure the safety of personnel and base stability.

MCAGCC personnel proactively prioritized safety during the severe weather. Keeping service members, DoD civilians, and their families informed was the first step to achieving cohesive efforts from both base officials and emergency operations center personnel.

"While the storm was impacting the installation, our first responders (Provost Marshall’s Office, Fire Department, and PWD) were canvassing the installation for life and safety issues and responding accordingly,” mentioned Michael Burns, deputy director of Mission Assurance Division, Installation Support Directorate, MCAGCC. “Once daylight broke and the storm impacts had passed, all directorates and tenant commands' mission-essential personnel conducted damage assessments in their areas of responsibility and reported to the installation to prioritize recovery efforts.”

The Combat Center’s installation recovery operations included, but were not limited to, safely returning personnel to the installation, removing debris, conducting damage assessments, restoring power to homes and installation facilities, and resuming Marine Corps Community Services programs.

"In the longer term, our recovery efforts will involve repairing roofs and building damages and addressing the weaknesses in our systems identified by this event," Bagshaw continued.

PWD inspected all buildings with damages and leaks with proper expertise to ensure a safe return to work for all personnel.

“After thorough evaluation of the training area, it was decided to continue the MAGTF Warfighting Exercise (MWX) this week,” said Kevin Mullally, G3 Deputy Director. MWX is a Force-on-Force exercise designed to challenge the MAGTF against a peer adversary in a free-play environment.

Each MWX scenario is tailored to incorporate aspects of Force Design and future warfighting concepts. MWX is also a critical pre-deployment training requirement. The infrastructure supporting the ability to control this exercise was minimally impacted and remains operational and effective.

Continuing the final phases of this training will have its challenges due to the exercise force's ability to navigate across the training area. These challenges will be mitigated through the basic training all Marines receive, including map and compass skills, driver training, risk evaluation, and unit cohesion.

A unit's ability to maneuver with the intent to close with the opposing force will require a little more time and planning at each step of the way. The Marines and civilian personnel planning to deliver the training safely and efficiently are in place and ready to go.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms