MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJUENE N.C. --
On the outskirts of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune lies an off-roading enthusiast’s heaven. Bumpy dirt roads run for miles and are surrounded by nothing but endless trees. While not motocross professionals, Marines from Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, certainly looked the part.
To improve their driving skills in harsh conditions and prepare for future deployments, more than 30 Marines from Truck Company repeatedly ran through rugged terrain courses with humvees.
“The purpose of this course is to instill confidence in Marines while operating an armored vehicle in less than favorable terrain – slopes, dips, narrow bridge crossings, valleys,” said Sgt. Jeremy T. Newby, an instructor for the company.
After reviewing the safety rules with the Marines, Newby told them to have fun but not to break the vehicles.
“It builds confidence with maneuvering in what it might be like in Afghanistan,” said Pvt. Louis C. Acampora, a motor transportation operator with the company. “I like the bumps section. I’d like to see this again, but with a different course – maybe a little more rugged.”
Both junior and senior Marines went through the course. Any questions younger Marines had were answered by the more seasoned Marines present.
“I try to have the junior Marines pick my brain,” said Cpl. Kristopher C. Lanz, a motor transport operator with the company, who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. “My job is to help them through deploying and make sure they know what to do in case something went down. It gives them a chance to get hands on with the vehicles.”
Humvees kicked up dirt as Marines drove into late evening. When the sun died down, drivers used night vision goggles to work through the course.
As Marines continue to deploy on a regular basis, the instructors see this as a valuable tool for motor transport Marines to grow their skill-set.
“This annual training – to me, this is one of the better training activities because the Marines get a chance to see what these vehicles are capable of,” said Newby.