MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Heavy metal is what moved approximately 70 Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, around to various landing zones aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during their tank maneuver exercise Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2014.
Alpha company used the 70-ton armored beasts, complete with a 120 mm main gun, a .50-caliber machine gun and two M-240B machine guns, to conduct movements in the offense, defense and breaching, in order to finely tune their basic skills and work together as a team, throughout each realistic and high tempo training event at landing zones Hawk and Falcon.
“The purpose of the training is to help us move faster, and for everyone to get a good feel for working with each other,” said Cpl. Zachery Fowler, a gunner with the battalion, and Estillfork, Alabama, native. “For mission readiness, it’s important that we have good cohesion inside the tank.”
The saying, “practice makes perfect” is a rule for Alpha Company, who conducts field exercises as often as possible. Learning from participation in various field exercises contributes to maintaining mission readiness and team bonding, which are priorities for Capt. Padraig Flynn, Alpha Co.’s commanding officer and Tipton, Pennsylvania, native.
“We have a one team one fight type of mindset. Everyone understands why we’re out here trying to maximize our training. At any time Alpha Co. could put on our packs, and roll out the door for whatever mission we’ve been asked to complete,” said Flynn.
A major point of the training was to push the Marines to their mental limit by tiring and stressing them out, said Flynn.
“It’s important for them to see that once they hit that point, it takes teamwork … mental-discipline and self-discipline to continue operating,” said Flynn.
The tanks triumphed over muddy terrain as a mechanical whirring sound filled the air of landing zones Hawk and Falcon.
Understanding the vehicles proved essential to the Marines of 2nd Tank Battalion, who fixed minor maintenance issues throughout the field exercise, due to the swampy land. The Marines never let small setbacks deter from their ability to confidently push through and effectively complete each mission, said Flynn.
Alpha Co. maneuvered their heavy, metal-made vehicles, mastering the basics of offense and defense, and growing as a team during their three-day training session.
Flynn said he wanted the Marines to leave the training confident in their abilities and for others to know, “the Marines of 2nd Tanks can be relied upon. The focus of 2nd Tanks is to be ready for any fight and any mission given to us.”