MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – --
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. are participating in the Combat Center’s Integrated Training Exercise from Aug. 24 to Sept. 25.
They are here working on essential skills they will need for their upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit later next year.
“We’ve worked our way up from platoon, company and now battalion-sized attacks,” said Maj. Robert Christafore, operations officer, 2/1. “This kind of training makes us better.”
This ITX is a stepping stone for the unit. They are using the training, typically used as a pre-deployment work up for Afghanistan, as a building block for the core tactics, techniques and procedures implemented by all infantry units. They will use what they learn at the Combat Center and further refine it in the training they will execute once on the MEU.
“This training is essential for all Marines to know,” said 1st Lt. Francis Coppola, executive officer, Weapons Company, 2/1. “Even though we’re not deploying to Afghanistan, this training is still fundamental to our success. Everything we learn here is just going to make our MEU training that much better.”
2/1 is making the most out of their training at the Combat Center. They are getting all their Marines and sailors together for large-scale, combined-arms exercises that they wouldn’t be able to achieve anywhere else.
“This is a very unique training venue,” Christafore said. “Here we have the opportunity to have all our infantry guys together and include tanks, artillery and air assets. We wouldn’t be able to do this anywhere else.”
ITX is just one step in “The Professionals’” work up for their MEU deployment. They will build on what they learned and improve upon their return to MCB Camp Pendleton.
“We’re here straightening out our TTPs and standard operation procedures,” Coppola said. “We still have plenty of training to do before our deployment. We’ll be doing more training with Special Operations Training Group to help get us ready for the MEU.”
2/1 only has a couple training exercises left in their ITX evolution. They will soon return home to MCB Camp Pendleton and continue their training as their deployment approaches.