Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Among the Combat Center units involved in supporting Desert Scimitar was Range Training Area Maintenance Section. RTAMS’ primary mission is to support the training that takes place aboard the Combat Center.
According to Raymond Clark, RTAMS Maintenance Supervisor, the Marines and civilians are faced with a variety of jobs throughout their time with RTAMS. Everything the unit does is by the numbers to prevent injuries from happening while working in sometimes hazardous conditions
“We keep all the training rolling on base,” said Mark Carrington, officer in command, RTAMS. “The Marines and civilians here work together to do just about everything that is asked of us.”
The unit is made up of eight civilians and anywhere from 30 to 40 Marines at a given time. Marines get transferred through the Fleet Assistance Program and work for approximately six months at RTAMS. The Marines who serve with RTAMS come from all over the Marine Corps..
“We have to sometimes go back into the impact areas that have been shot with over 250 mortar rounds and pull out the materials,” Carrington said. “We also have to reconstruct impact areas for the next unit coming through to train. On top of that, we maintain the roads the units drive on once they go out to train.”
Range Training Area Maintenance Section is responsible for most of the training area aboard the Combat Center. The unit maintains training areas, facilities and ranges and also provides construction and in support of all training. RTAMS also does improvements to new or existing ranges.
Maintaining training areas includes cleaning them and handling everything organic to the desert. The unit also handles taking care of everything not organic to the desert.
“The desert would be annihilated with trash if we didn’t do our jobs,” Carrington said. “We pick up everything from snakes to shells of the rounds the Marines fire. We want the environment to be as safe as possible for the unit maintaining the area and for the units using the area for training.”
According to Carrington, the unit has many missions aboard the Combat Center but accomplishing these missions in a safely manner is very important. RTAMS is the reason Marines safely get around the Combat Center training areas and can safely participate in training. They accept requests from units for specialized training or construction of targets. They also ensure units receive the highest quality training possible.
“We have to make sure these Marines get good training so they can implement it overseas,” Clark said. “Marines are always going to fight and train and we will be here to give them most realistic and challenging experiences. We are here for them.”