BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, recently conducted training at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California, Aug. 18 to Sept. 17, 2014.
The unit arrived in Bridgeport Aug. 17 to begin their training in preparation for a deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit scheduled to depart late 2015.
The month-long exercise trained Marines in techniques centered on mountaineering skills and high-altitude warfare. Assault climbing, rappelling, horse and mule packing, and small unit movements were all included during the exercise. The exercise was the precursor to the unit’s deployment, according to Master Sgt. Robert Bell, the assistant operations chief with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines.
“We’re here to train in preparation for the 15th MEU and this is our big event prior to our combat readiness evaluation roughly a week after we get back,” said Bell.
Conducting operations on such a large scale involves coordinating many different moving parts in order to ensure successful training. The planning process alone presented challenges, according to Bell.
“Logistically, it’s complex,” said Bell. “In addition to small-unit movements we have to consider communications, movement of aircraft and supply routes that will support the Marines out in the deeper parts of the training area.”
Many Marines understand that providing support on a larger scale can be challenging, added Bell.
“This is overall tactics training for all of our infantry units and as motor transportation we’re here to make sure the vehicles are up and available to those line companies,” said Sgt. Joshua Booker, motor transportation mechanic and maintenance chief with the battalion. “Each platoon counts on us, in part, to accomplish its mission.”
Despite the challenges it presents, MWTC Bridgeport’s natural environment becomes a selling point for the leadership of the unit in order to prepare both their veteran and junior Marines for situations they may encounter while deployed.
There are many Marines new to the unit who just graduated the School of Infantry, resulting in recent turn over in leadership and new personnel, according to Bell.
“I’d say at least three quarters of the battalion, if not more, are new right now,” said Bell.
The training and environment at MWTC serves as yet another asset in the tool kit for the Marines and their mission accomplishment according to the commander’s intent.
“It’s about building their confidence for any environment; they’re going to succeed in this environment because they’ve been prepared and trained to do so,” said Bell. “It will also show our new Marines exactly what they’re made of. Welcome to 3/1.”