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Marines with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., watch a CH-46 Sea Knight lifts off Feb. 1, at Combat Center Range 220 during their Enhanced Mojave Viper predeployment training. The battalion will deploy to Afghanistan this spring to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

3rd Bn., 1st Marines, changes focus from sea to desert

9 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., completed their Enhanced Mojave Viper predeployment training evolution Feb. 4 here, as part of the unit’s shift from supporting Marine Expeditionary Units to serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The battalion engaged all their efforts in adapting to the mission, and undertook the task diligently, said 2nd Lt. John Adams, a platoon commander with Company K, 3rd Bn., 1st Marines, and a native of Milwaukee.

“Marines by their nature are very smart and very receptive,” Adams said. “Our Marines have been performing very well in terms of picking up a new role, adapting staying flexible, which is what Marines do best, adapt and overcome.”

Adams said the conviction of his Marines, as well as the outstanding training they received is going to pay dividends later.

“All the Marines have been motivated since the very beginning,” he said. “They’re infantry Marines and this is what they joined for.

“In addition, we have been focusing on counterinsurgency techniques,” he said. “The quality of the training as well has been outstanding. The battalion has been focusing a lot on how to deal with locals, as well as the kinetic aspect.”

The Marines who conducted the training thought highly of what they were learning and what it would do for them once they deployed.

“Learning about the culture, tactics and language of Afghans is going to help us tremendously before we even get there,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan Davidson, a rifleman with Co. K, 3rd Bn., 1st Marines, and a native of Plainfield, Ind. “We’ve learned a lot of their native languages in the classes, but talking and interacting with the people is a much better way to get good at speaking it and learning customs.”

Some of the more experienced Marines in the battalion, like Cpl. Deano Miller, recognized how their battalion has grown as a unit as they prepared for their new mission.

“It’s more serious going to Afghanistan than being on a MEU,” said Miller, a rifleman serving as a dog handler with Co. K, 3rd Bn., 1st Marines, and a native of Tacoma, Wash. “We’re doing good, though. All the Marines are working hard to get everything they need ready before we deploy.”

The battalion is scheduled to depart this spring in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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