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Marines and sailors from 3rd LAR arrived at the Army's National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Jan. 18 to conduct pre-deployment training. The training at NTC is tough, realistic joint and combined arms training across a full spectrum of conflict set in a contemporary operating environment. The batalion wil spend two weeks honing their skills before their fifth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom this spring.

Photo by Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Wolfpack reports to NTC Fort Irwin

30 Jan 2009 | Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Nearly 875 Marines and sailors from the Combat Center’s 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion traveled to Fort Irwin, Calif., Jan. 18, to participate in a two-week training exercise at the Army’s National Training Center.

The training evolution 3rd LAR is participating in is comparable to the Combat Center’s Mojave Viper training, a 30-day pre-deployment training evolution all Marines non-aviation units must go through at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center before deploying in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

The Wolfpack is slated for its fifth deployment to Iraq this spring, and the battalion’s executive officer, Maj. Russ Speigle, believes NTC will prepare his Marines and sailors for anything they may experience while they are deployed. 

“All of our training here at NTC is based on Operation Iraqi Freedom scenarios,” said Speigle, a Mason, Ohio, native.  “Our Marines are conducting counter-insurgency training operations, standard [IED] training, insurgents among the populous training and are also partnering with Iraqi Security Forces played by Iraqi role players.”

Speigle also said getting the Wolfpack out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., will provide an even greater training environment because the Marines and sailors are in an unfamiliar location.

“Our mantra is ‘train like you fight, fight like you train,’” added Speigle.  “These Marines are in completely different terrain and they don’t know where anything is.”

To make the training more realistic, 3rd LAR Marines and sailors are being equipped with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System gear to use throughout the training evolution.  The equipment is similar to the game of laser tag, but with more serious implications. 

Each Wolfpack member has a harness with disc-shaped sensors he wears on their Kevlar helmets and flak jackets.  They also have a laser attached to the front sight assembly of their service rifles that shoots a pulse at enemy role players.  If a laser pulse crosses paths with one of the sensors, the resulting beeping sound from the harness lets the enemy or service member know that he has been shot. 

The Marines and sailors of Company E, 4th LAR, are also attached to the Wolfpack and are slated to deploy with the Twentynine Palms battalion.  The reserve company, also known by its call sign “Grapplers,” is based out of Syracuse, N.Y.

For more news, photos and updates on the Wolfpack’s training at Fort Irwin, visit http://www.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms