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Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron (MWHS) 3 conduct a land navigation course during their Command Post Exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Jan. 19. Marines with MWHS-3 participated in a three-day, two-night CPX designed to instill and improve field and tactical skills of the Headquarter Marines, Jan. 19-21.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson

From office to field: MWHS-3 conducts CPX

23 Jan 2016 | Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3 conducted a Command Post Exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Jan. 19-21. 

The purpose of this training is to prepare the MWHS-3 Marines for a vigorous predeployment training cycle in case the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing deploys. 

“[We went] to East Miramar to test our capabilities as an organization,” said Maj. Steven Alfonso, logistics officer for MWHS-3, and a Windsor, Connecticut, native. “Our [three] main objectives this week [are] to practice, rehearse and refine our capabilities to support the MAW in a field environment.”  

The Marines split into two squads of 10 Marines and started their training with a six-mile hike to East Miramar, where they set up tents for shelter and conducted a night patrol. Then, they prepared for the 'squad-a-thon' competition the next day. 

The competition took place at different stations throughout East Miramar the squads could only reach by hiking over hills. The objective was to complete each event in a shorter amount of time than the other squad. All the events were field exercises meant to refresh the Marines’ memories of being out in the field and the fundamentals of a rifleman. 

This was not the first time MWHS-3 conducted this training. The squadron completed a shorter exercise in October to prepare them for the CPX. This CPX prepared the squadron for even longer field-training exercises in the future, according to Alfonso.

“This is a second of probably three or four exercises,” said Alfonso. “This is [the] kind of phase where we’re testing our capabilities. The challenges that we’re facing are just getting [Marines] familiar with their responsibilities out in the field… We have supply, administration and logisticians that don’t go to the field very often, so this is their opportunity to develop and refine those skills.”

Some of the events the squads completed included a 7-ton truck tire flip, land navigation, an M240B medium machine gun maneuver course, a casualty-evacuation exercise and a Meal, Ready-to-Eat resupply. The exercise concluded with a six-mile hike back to the air station, Jan. 21. 

“I [work in] supply, so I don’t have the opportunity to do stuff like this every day,” said Sgt. Demetrius Jess, a supply administration and operations specialist with MWHS-3, and a Tampa native. 

“I’m used to sitting behind my computer all day. It gives me a good refresher on Marine Combat Training [and] getting back to ‘Every Marine is a Rifleman.’ It’s pretty fun. I get to get out here and lead Marines I don’t get to lead every day.” 

The training also helped get noncommissioned officers of the squadron back in the field to exercise their leadership skills outside of their normal workplace. The exercise helped keep Marines current in their field training, according to Alfonso.

“It’s critical whenever we deploy,” said Alfonso. “As an expeditionary force of readiness, we always have to be ready. This gives our Marines an opportunity to refine their skills so when we deploy, we’re ready.”

The training was long and hard, but refreshed his memory on important leadership and field skills, according to Jess. 

“It’s a good experience,” said Jess. “It gave me the opportunity to get out here and show my leadership skills. I think it’s pretty interesting. It’s tiring, but it’s worth it. I think we should do it more often.”

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