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A Marine attempts to crack climb during the Assault Climbers Rehearsal Course May 18, 2011 at the Mountain Warfare Training Center Gym May 18, 2011. The course was a precursor to the official Assault Climbers course being conducted the following week.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Dietz

HQBN heads to Bridgeport

23 May 2011 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Dietz

Marines of Headquarters Battalion aboard the Combat Center were given a rare opportunity this week to train in the mountains of the Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport to learn how to climb.

Before the annual Assault Climbers Course, the instructors of MWTC require a week long rehearsal course. For the instructors, the HQBN Marines were chosen as their guinea pigs, for the students, they got out of the office and warehouse to explore in the mountains.

“Our purpose was to help the instructors get familiar with the course again, they can critique themselves,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Bailey, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marines.

The rehearsal course was only a week long as opposed to the month long official course.

Although shortened, the Marines still learned a lot of critical information about living and climbing in the mountains during the condensed version of the course.

The course covered pre-environmental training, rope systems, knot tying, casualty evacuation, various forms of climbing and physical training.

For such a short course, the Marines seemed to soak in the information, said Staff Sgt. Garrett Scharffer, the chief instructor of the Assault Climbers Course.

“They were very receptive,” he added. “We usually deal with SNCOs and captains, they were great.”

The HQBN Marines were ecstatic to have the opportunity to learn new things.

“It is something good to know and is lots of fun,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony Sutton, a Marine in the Combat Center Band and a student of the course. “I barely do anything like this and it’s a good experience. Training in the altitude is challenging though.”

The rehearsal course kicked off the summer courses at MWTC and is the start of the chaotic season with units from all over the Corps flooding the base waiting their turn to train.

For the Combat Center’s HQBN, the trip Bridgeport was a rare one.

“It’s something you wouldn’t get an opportunity to do often in a HQBN,” Bailey said. “I’m really glad we jumped on the opportunity to get the Marines out of the office and do some good Marine Corps stuff.”

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