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Light armored vehicles with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion push through to their next objective Sept. 2 during part of their Enhanced Mojave Viper. The exercise is a 28-day pre-deployment training process all units must undergo before they deploy.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

3rd LAR prepares for OEF with Clear, Hold, Build 3

10 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl

Marines and sailors with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion learned how to properly operate in a defensive stance during part of their Enhanced Mojave Viper pre-deployment training process throughout several training areas here Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

The Wolfpack refined its skills by standing a unit-sized defense and then pursuing simulated enemy forces until they retreated, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Phillip Bemis, the battalion operations chief.

“[Clear, Hold, Build] 3 gave the battalion a chance to work on our core competency of defensive operations,” said Bemis, a Gibraltar, Mich., native.

The battalion-sized defense withstood an enemy advance and repelled it with the support of various elements of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, then pursued the enemy forces with a counter-attack.

Marines gained not only refined tactics, but also a sense of how Operation Enduring Freedom could possibly play out, said Lance Cpl. Paul Brooks, a light armored vehicle crewman with Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd LAR Bn.

“This training is important because Marines need to take into account that Afghanistan isn’t going to be as kinetic as Iraq was,” said Brooks, a Boston native. “There’s still going to be combat, but not flying through the open desert pursuing the enemy in vehicles. We’ll be moving through the mountains and counter-attacking ambushes.”

Lance Cpl. Christopher C. Matthews, a light armored vehicle crewman with the company, said while it may not be entertaining, it’s vital the Marines stayed focused, which they did throughout all their training.

“Sitting in the defense can get really boring,” the Menifee, Calif., native said. “Everyone I’ve seen has done a good job of staying on top of their mission on guard, and when the counter-attacks came we were all ready to go on a moment’s notice.”

The battalion is scheduled to take their skills downrange in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this fall.

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