MARINE COPRS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Combat Center hosted a tour March 28 to show a visiting congressman the current training areas of the base and the upgrades and changes that have been made since his last visit.
Congressman Ken Calvert, a republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1993, representing California’s 44th congressional district, said he had not visited the base for quite some time, and was curious to the changes that have been implemented throughout the years.
“We heard about the new training facilities and I wanted to see them,” said Calvert, whose district is part of Southern California.
At the beginning of the tour, James Ricker, the Community Plans and Liaison officer, held a brief at the command deck that explained the importance of the base and how all the training areas impact the Marines and sailors who are deploying.
Calvert then visited Ranges 200 and 215, where he was able to walk through the mock training villages and watch as Marines and sailors trained through various areas of the facility.
During the tour of the ranges, Ricker explained the importance of the ranges and how the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group continuously changes the training to mirror what service members are running into while deployed.
“There is a lot more intensive training going on which is good for these Marines since this is certainly a much more dangerous world,” Calvert said. “The villages we saw where quite impressive. I realize now what Marines have to do to prepare themselves for war.”
Calvert had the opportunity to walk through various buildings throughout the mock towns. During the walkthrough, Calvert was informed on how each unit is observed and graded during their training exercises.
Calvert also toured Camp Wilson, where he was accompanied by Col. Michael Callaghan, the officer-in-charge of Mojave Viper’s Support Detachment, and Sgt. Maj. Jerome Alford, the Mojave Viper’s Support Detachment sergeant major.
During his tour of Camp Wilson, Calvert was shown the dining facilities, the Fitness Center, the exchange and the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program area.
“From talking to the Marines I am very pleased with the training,” Calvert said. “It is very realistic, which helps keep the casualties to the minimum.”
At the end of the tour, Calvert left the Combat Center in assurance that the Marine Corps is doing everything it can to properly train Marines and sailors before a deployment, he said.