By Sgt. Kathy Nunez, III Marine Expeditionary Force
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, HI --
Marines depart for Integrated Training Exercise 2-18 from Marine Corps Base Hawaii to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms this week.
Marines from 3d Marine Regiment; 2d Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment; 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 3 are to participate in ITX 2-18, making this this first iteration of the exercise that the majority of the Hawaii-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force participates in at the same time.
“The work to bring Hawaii-based units to ITX 2-18 is significant and we will be able to exercise together at a service-level training event for the first time,” said Col. Michael Styskal, the 3d Marines commanding officer. “ITX 2-18 is a chance to bring our training to another level and to test our integration.”
As the command element for MAGTF-3, 3d Marines is in charge of conducting ITX 2-18. The exercise will test their ability to command and control the MAGTF in a simulated environment.
ITX is a routine exercise for the infantry battalions within 3d Marines, but it doesn’t typically include other III Marine Expeditionary Force units stationed in Hawaii.
“CLB-3 has not participated in ITX for almost 10 years,” said Lt. Col. Bolivar Pluas, the CLB-3 commanding officer. “This will be the first time that we are deploying most of the Hawaii-based MAGTF to ITX and composite with other units to successfully conduct training.”
CLB-3, 1/12, 2/3 and 3d Marines with its Combat Assault Company often train together in the Hawaii training areas to include the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii and in various locations across Oahu. However, their participation in ITX allows the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group based in MCAGCC Twentynine Palms to assess the MAGTF’s combat readiness and ability to successfully accomplish any mission.
“Simply put, the training environment at ITX cannot be replicated anywhere else in the Marine Corps,” Pluas said.