Kaneohe Bay -- Beneath the scorching Hawaiian sun, camouflaged in utilities, a flak jacket and kevlar, Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted training at Training Area Boondocker aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2015, to keep the Marine’s combat mindset sharp and intact.
The Marines put their minds together to complete the Leadership Reaction Course, which empowers small-unit leaders to overcome various obstacles, such as moving a squad from one location to another, using minimal resources. They also worked on hand-to-hand and close-quarter combat techniques with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, completed multiple iterations of a modified obstacle course and busted down doors during military operations in urban terrain training. Leaders reminded Marines to train like they fight to stimulate their combat mindset.
“Combat mindset is always having a mental awareness of what is going on offensively with your guys and defensively with the enemy,” said Sgt. Michael Kelley, a squad leader with Bravo Co. 1st Bn., 3rd Marines.
The Marines recently returned from Integrated Training Exercise at Marine Air-Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., which is the last step in the Hawaii Marines’ predeployment training cycle before departing Hawaii on the Unit Deployment Program later this year. To avoid complacency as well as sustain and build upon the skills they gained at ITX, the Marines will continue to train here while awaiting deployment.
“Just because we have a scheduled UDP doesn’t mean the Marine Corps couldn’t decide (It) needs us somewhere else,” said Cpl. Zachary Soto, a squad leader with Bravo Co. 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, and a Salem, Ore., native. “That is why we go to ITX and we train to the same standard as the rest of the Marine Corps.”
Soto, who is also a Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor, stressed the importance of constantly having a combat mindset to ensure Marines are prepared for the unexecpted. During the sustainment training, he instructed Marines on martial arts techniques ranging from gray to brown belt.
“(MCMAP gives Marines) an introduction to interpersonal violence,” Soto said. “If you don’t continue to do MCMAP, you may lose your edge, making you a target. You need that aggressiveness to keep you aware and in a combat mindset so we are ready for anything.”
Kelley, a Philadelphia native, who has completed two combat deployments in Afghanistan with the ‘Lava Dogs,” said it’s important to maintain that level of aggressiveness even during peacetime. He said it can be hard for the Marines to keep a combat mindset because they may think there’s no chance of seeing combat, but it should not deter them from their training.
“As a squad leader it’s my job to make sure they are keeping their minds focused on the training that we are doing,” Kelley said. “It’s important to always have a combat mindset because the Marine Corps is the United State’s expeditionary fighting force, and we always have to be ready.”
Training like this supports the mission of Marine Corps Base Hawaii by enhancing and sustaining combat readiness.