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Marines of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, board an MV-22 Osprey during a Marine Air Ground Task Force Integration Exercise at the Chocolate Mountain Training Area, Yuma, Ariz., June 22, 2016. This integration training tested the ground combat element and air combat element ability to work together to perform the insert of troops in defense of a territory. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

‘Darkside’, MAG-39 exercise MAGTF integration

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

Marines of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, and Marine Aircraft Group 39 conducted a Marine Air Ground Task Force Integration Exercise at the Chocolate Mountain Training Area in Yuma, Ariz., June 22, 2016.

This integration training tested the ground combat element and air combat element ability to work together to perform the insert of troops in defense of a territory.

“This exercise is more advanced than the training our Marines have conducted together to this point,” said Capt. Jerimiah Adams, company commander, Company I, 3/4. “India Co. stood up in January and we had only trained at a squad level with very linear exercises. This exercise pushed us to work at the company level, to keep track of other Marines, and work from different avenues to attack the objective.”

During the exercise, MAG-39 retrieved approximately 100 3/4 ground troops from the Combat Center’s Strategic Expeditionary Landing in six MV-22 Ospreys en route to the notional conflict territory. After landing, the Marines performed a non-live fire assault on the military operations on urban terrain facility with fire and maneuver tactics and engaged Marine role-players acting as an opposing force.

“The role players helped to give our Marines some realism to the training exercise and the [standard operating procedures] we have been teaching the Marines,” said Staff Sgt. Erik Leveras, platoon sergeant, Company I, 3/4. “The Marines also learned a great deal about communication throughout the exercise. I believe it opened their eyes a little to everything that they need to practice for real operations.”

As training continues, more units will integrate together as a cohesive team through shared planning, briefing, rehearsals, execution and debriefing. This interaction builds the inherent understanding that Marines need to possess in order to fight as a unified force.

“An exercise like this requires a lot of planning and being able to practice the planning like this helps prepare our company leaders for operations in the future,” Adams said. “This exercise is also the first time that most of the junior Marines have ever been inside an Osprey so there are skills to learn from every aspect of the exercise. I believe that our Marines can take what they have learned from this exercise and apply it to the rest of their training to better ready themselves for the future.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms