MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division along with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division conducted breaching exercises in various scenarios aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, December 8-10.
Two Assault Breacher Vehicles, alongside four M1A1 Abrams Tanks, worked together to complete an obstacle course that tested both their ability to work in tandem as well as their individual skillsets.
“This training has allowed two units to come together and work with each other to gain a better understanding of each’s capabilities,” said Cpl. David Harlan, a tank mechanic with 2nd Tank Bn. and a San Jose, California native.
The ABV’s were challenged with various tasks, such as clearing the area of anti-tank mines, eliminating tank pits, and reducing berms into lanes safe for travel. Once a lane was created, the tanks pushed through the berm to destroy the enemy on the other side and set up a security perimeter.
“They had to suppress the enemy with cover fire, while the ABV’s plowed the field for mines and then filled in a tank pit in order to successfully get over a berm we had set in place,” said 1st Lt. Alex Bablitch, the Assault Breacher Vehicle platoon commander for 2nd CEB.
During the three-day exercise, the Marines were continuously tested with different scenarios and complications in their training.
“We created multiple entry points in the berm so no two runs were the same,” said Bablitch, “We created different challenges to overcome each time.”
The training was directly correlated to real scenarios that a Marine may see in combat.
“It’s conventional warfare and we have seen it in the past,” said Bablitch, “We saw this same sort of challenge in World War II where we may have been stuck for hours trying to clear a lane of mines reinforced with enemy on foot.”
This is the second time the unit has done this sort or training; each time with a new group of Marines to execute. 2nd Tank Bn. plans to conduct the training again in January before beginning pre-deployment actions.
The training helps to ensure the readiness and relevance of 2nd Marine Division to be employed in support of combatant command requirements.