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Marines with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, run through Range 210 Dec. 11, 2012, during Steel Knight 13.

Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu

FINEX brings SK13 to close

14 Dec 2012 | Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu

1st Marine Division has taken over the Combat Center’s Training areas with Steel Knight 13, the division’s largest annual training exercise, for the past two weeks.

Their final exercise brings together all the skills they refined during their training into one large-scale attack involving the participating units at the same time.

Steel Knight 13 brought together over a dozen units across the division to train in a combined arms live-fire exercise at the Combat Center and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“We brought all of the different elements of the Marine Corps together for a coordinated live fire training event,” Maj. Serge Morosoff,  battalion executive officer, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. “We take foot-mobile infantry and having a chance to ride on armored vehicles, employing aviation, artillery and tanks. It’s all complicated and a lot of work but we’re able to do this here in Twentynine Palms.”

The FINEX had the battalion breach an enemy position, clear a Military Operation on Urban Terrain town and move up and establish a defensive position. The operation used all the assets available to SK13.

The Marines practiced getting back to the basics throughout the Steel Knight training events. They focused on a building block approach with their small unit leaders and worked their way up to the division-level FINEX.

“It’s always important learning everything about what you’re going to put into action,” said 1st Sgt. Julio Torres, company first sergeant, Weapons Company, 2/4. “It’s all about the training. That is what makes us so successful when we get into the fight.”

Steel Knight also did something new this year and integrated the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group’s new pre-deployment training standard, the Integrated Training Exercise.

Units in Steel Knight took part in training segments of ITX to train their Marines for the exercise.

“Our basic training goals were the basics themselves,” Morosff said. “ITX is going to be very similar to this. We can look at this exercise as a rehearsal. Our goal is to get it right and perfect the first time. We’ll have a chance to come out and the same things we did here.”

Steel Knight brought back a focus of getting Marines back to the basics. The integration and logistics aspects of the exercise pushed the limits to have the largest Steel Knight to date.

The Marines on the ground stressed small unit leadership and got the troops to do what needed to be done and what they do best.

“What we gain from coming here is a chance to do blocking and tackling basics and just shoot, move and communicate,” Morosoff said. “Our job is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy. To do that, we have to be able to employ our weapons with accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms