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A CH-53 ‘Super Stallion’ flies near the Combat Ville training area aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., during Integrated Training Exercise 3-16, May 29, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

Inside ITX: Long Range Raid

3 Jun 2016 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Tactical Training Exercise Control Group conducts the Long Range Raid exercise at the Combat Ville training area as part of the 28-day Integrated Training Exercise held aboard three times each year.

The exercise requires detailed planning and integration between ground and air combat elements. According to Sgt. Christopher McDowell, assistant engineer instructor, TTECG, the exercise gives the units involved an opportunity to practice the necessary planning and integration required for long range raid operations.

“The Long Range Raid requires good communication and planning with multiple combat elements in order to work successfully,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Livi, scout sniper platoon commander, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “The Marine Corps is especially suited for this kind of mission because of the flexibility of the [Marine Air Ground Task Force]. By coordinating with the different aspects within the MAGTF, we can execute an operation like this independently.”

The exercise starts at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., where a ground assault force is transported via rotary wing aircraft from the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field to the Combat Ville, a military operations on urban terrain training area at MCAS Yuma. Upon arrival the unit assaults the simulated town and accomplish key objectives in a predetermined time frame.

“The training we provide for Marines who come to the Combat Center is as realistic as possible and we are always trying to make it even better,” McDowell said. “We use Marines as role players to give the units training a real opposing force to train against. TTECG brings the training to life.”

The role players use simulated firearms and improvised explosive devices to defend the notional town. The unit sends a small team of scout snipers to collect intelligence on the enemy’s movements and actions the day before the raid takes place, giving the assaulting force the critical information before the raid commences.

After the exercise the members of TTECG meet with the training audience’s leadership to discuss their assessment of the unit’s planning and execution of the exercise.

“We provide the best training for the Marines who come through ITX,” McDowell said. “We train Marines faster, safer and more completely. If more Marines come home at the end of deployments we have accomplished our goal.”

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