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First Tanks holds formation training

3 May 2013 | Cpl Ali Azimi

Company B, 1st Tank Battalion took their M1A1 Abrams tanks out on the road to participate in formation training aboard the Combat Center, April 28.

The training was conducted at Lead Mountain to improve driving and reaction to a variety of different environmental scenarios. The tank crews were forced to drive during the day and night. For some drivers, this was particularly difficult due to their lack of field experience.

“I had to drive at my (Military Occupational Specialty) school but this is the first time I have ever been out with my company,” said Pfc. Juan Isaiz, driver, Co. B. “I hear the more experienced tankers talk about the training they have done and it gets me excited for what is to come. Driving here yesterday, I was very excited.”

The tankers set a perimeter around the main camp, before they performed maintenance on the tanks in preparation for the day-formation exercises.

“I am responsible for making sure the tank is fueled up and ready to go,” Isaiz said. “Everyone has their own thing to do but the newest tanker has to make sure the tank is ready to go when it is time to move out.”

The tankers returned from their day formation exercises to refuel and prepare their tanks for night formation exercises.

Company B. also conducted exercises to improve their response time to taking contact and taking action. Taking contact and taking action are two different commands for tankers.

Taking action is a command that instructs driver to turn the whole tank and drive in the direction of the action to engage a target, pursue the enemy or aid troops.

When a tank takes contact, the command tells the crew to simply rotate the main gun in the direction of the enemy and potentially return fire.

“This training helps with professional development of the tankers,” said Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Marrero, tank leader, Co. B, 1st Tank Battalion. “It helps broaden maneuvering skills and at the end of this training these Marines will be more prepared for combat situations.”

The training is scheduled to end May 6.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms