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‘Dark Horse’ trains on mechanized-assault course

8 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Charles J. Santamaria

A thunderous roar echoed through the desert as a line of tanks and Amphibious Assault Vehicles rolled through the terrain, lifting debris, crushing rock and tactically advancing toward the objective. The Marines were on the offensive as they patiently waited in the rumbling assault vehicles for their chance to take on the rugged terrain of Range 210.

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, participated in the Mechanized Assault Course on Range 210, Nov. 3, 2013. I Company ran the assault phase of the exercise with three platoons supported by tanks, AAVs and artillery.

The MAC began with an assault phase where Marines had to push through a mount town and take control of the area.

“The mission today was to clear the east side of the town after the squads dismounted from a simulated AAV insertion and dismount (exercise), while keeping suppressive fire on the enemy to advance,” said Cpl. Kevin Michael Brown, squad leader, Co. I, 3rd Bn., 5th Marine Regiment.

According to Brown, the AAVs were effective method of transportation for Marines into the town.

“The AAV is a great vehicle, they can fit about 12 Marines with full gear and are fast on different terrain,” Brown said.

After the town was captured, the exercise went into the defensive phase where Marines occupied fighting positions to defend against any follow-on attacks from the enemy. The exercise prepared Marines to clear an area alongside AAVs, while maintaining artillery and vehicle support.

Tactical Training Exercise Control Group Marines evaluated the exercise throughout the duration, making the assault course more realistic.

“The evaluators put the Marines in the scenario and really painted the picture of the assault by describing where fire was coming from and putting pressure on us,” said Cpl. Colby Troyer, squad leader, I Co., 3/5.

Marines with I Co., 3/5, conducted the MAC training to support the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit scheduled to deploy next year. The vehicle dismount and insertion drills conducted will supplement the unit’s purpose as a Battalion Landing Team participating in the 31st MEU’s mission as a forward-deployed crisis response force.

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