MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- After six months of careful planning, more than 700 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, with attachments from 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and Combat Logistics Battalion 2, conducted a Deployment for Training exercise at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Jan. 18 - Feb. 4, 2016.
The DFT is designed to simulate operating in a deployed environment and to prepare the unit for any future contingencies they may encounter while deployed to Okinawa, Japan. However, the Marines chose to train at Fort A.P. Hill for a specific reason; larger training areas.
“These ranges afford the Marines [an opportunity] to fully prepare for what they are going to see at the Integrated Training Exercise and in combat,” said Capt. Mark Greenlief, the operations officer for the unit. “We were able to sit down with range control and design specific ranges that allow us to meet our training objectives.”
The large range, ‘28 Papa’, allowed the Marines to hone their combat tactics on a much greater scale.
“We are able to do full platoon attacks out here,” said Lt. Col Sean Dynan, battalion commander of the unit. “This is a huge step for mission readiness.”
The Marines also faced an erratic opponent during the DFT; about two feet of snow poured on the unit during the exercise which interfered with their training schedule.
“Dealing with [uncertainty] is important for any infantry battalion,” Dynan said. “I’m glad it happened to mine, because this will only make us better.”
The snow has not cooled the battalion’s desire to be an effective fighting force. Despite whatever obstacles the Marines stumbled across, they continued training to maintain mission readiness.
“You do not waste a moment when it comes to preparing for combat,” Dynan said. “Being here together builds a stronger battalion.”