MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Not all Marines have extensive experience in basic operations overseas. The Combat Center
’s Advisor Training Group, which normally trains Partner Mentor Teams, took advantage of their down time between training cycles to teach Marines with an entirely different mission.
Civil Affairs teams from the 11th Marine Regiment trained Tuesday through Friday on basic convoy operations, said 1st Lt. Javier Gonzalez, an officer instructor with ATG, from Des Plaines, Ill.
“Normally we train those going overseas to train the Afghanistan police, army and border guards. These guys are civil affairs; most of them haven’t done this before,” Gonzalez said.
Fortunately, the unit’s and ATG’s schedule matched up perfectly. Civil Affairs needed to train and ATG instructors don’t like sitting around, making it a win-win situation for everyone.
“This is why I came to ATG,” he said. “To help Marines train to go to Afghanistan.”
First Lt. Alan Sung, the leader of 11th Marines Civil Affairs Team 3, spoke to the difficulties in shifting roles his team has faced in their training.
“We’ve had limited exposure to convoy operations,” said the San Jose, Calif., native. “We’ve been on two [Marine Expeditionary Unit] deployments where we operated out of helicopters and boats. We’re getting a lot of exposure to very different scenarios right now.”
Lance Cpl. Sam Leprohan, a motor transportation operator with the team, said he was looking forward to taking on a new challenge and new skills.
“I haven’t handled a [.50-caliber machine gun] since I messed around with one in [Marine Combat Training],” said the Tacoma, Wash., native. “It’s scary and exciting learning all this new stuff before you deploy.
“I’m a [motor transportation] mechanic,” he said. “I definitely know how to fix a 7-ton, but I know I have to pay attention and learn how to operate a heavy machine gun, because I haven’t touched one in a long time.”
The teams are scheduled to deploy and attach to various battalions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this summer.
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