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Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twentynine Palms, California
ATG command moves to MCAGCC

By Pfc. Jared J. Butler | | October 5, 2007

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Command of the Advisor Training Group was passed from the Training and Education Command to the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command effective Oct. 1.

ATG developed about six months ago, with criteria influenced by the Security, Cooperation, Education and Training Center at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., said Lt. Col. Richard R. Warmbold, ATG operations officer.

ATG has been conducting training under TECOM aboard the Combat Center since early this year, said Warmbold.

The ATG instructors and controllers provide advisor teams with the training they need to help security forces from other countries become more proficient, according to the ATG mission statement.

Advisor teams interact, influence and advise the security forces of countries, such as Iraq, to improve their stability.

The goals of the advisor teams are to teach and help their foreign counter-parts without interrupting their progress.

“An advisor is like a shadow on a cloudy day,” said Col. Eugene N. Apicella, ATG director. “He’s there, but you don’t really notice him.”

ATG adjusted to a 19-day period of instruction Oct. 1, that gives transition teams the ability to develop advisor skills in realistic scenarios.

The last military transition team to experience the 25-day period of instruction made up the 9-07 transition team, which completed their military readiness exercise at the Combat Center’s Range 220 Oct. 5.

A multitude of scenarios, some including Iraqi role players, were put in front of these Marines and sailors during their last few days of training that required them to act on their feet.

The MRX allowed the MTT to work closely with Iraqi Army role players that simulated what it’s like to train the Iraqi Army.

“The level of proficiency of the role players, especially the Iraqi Army, was very high,” said Maj. Craig Wolfenbarger, 9-07 transition team leader. “They did an outstanding job of presenting us with very realistic scenarios.”

The use of advisor teams allows the security forces of other countries to gain experience from Marines and sailors specifically trained to improve security forces.

“I think it’s best that we train the Iraqi Army and other security forces because we have specialized training in that area of expertise,” said Sgt. Anthony Ziegler, 9-07 transition team intelligence chief.

The efforts of the ATG staff and the advisor teams they train will assist in the development and building self-reliance of the Iraqi security forces.

“I think advising is the direction the Marine Corps is heading,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Maser, ATG training chief. “What’s better than having the world’s finest military force advising you?”

The 9-07 transition team is scheduled to deploy to Iraq and advise the Iraqi Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Oct. 30.


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