MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When an amphibious assault vehicle breaks down or its tracks are damaged, Marines on the front lines can’t always fix it on the spot. The vehicle must be taken to a forward operating base, fixed, and sent back out to the fight within a few hours time.
Marines from Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion, endured a six-day training exercise at Landing Zone Plover here, June 21, to better prepare them for their upcoming deployment. During the exercise, the Marines set up a FOB, or a secure base, provided perimeter security, conducted counter-insurgent patrols and performed vehicle maintenance.
“Basically, our mission out here is to ensure our companies on the front line have the support needed to enhance their training for future deployments,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mathew K. Brower, an amphibious assault crewman and platoon commander.
The Marines were put into different situations that might happen while in Iraq. If a vehicle in a convoy breaks down and the mechanic in the convoy can’t fix it, it is towed back to base. The Marines work as fast as possible, through the night if necessary, to get the vehicle in working condition.
“They work as fast as they can to get the vehicles working correctly and to get them back in the fight,” said Master Sgt. Rodney “BAMA” Curry, the operation chief for Headquarters and Service Company. “They don’t just sit back here at the base; they also go out on patrols and convoys.”
The perimeter security of the base also falls on the shoulders of the Marines – the patrols and convoys ensure the base remains a safe place to work. The area around the base was set up so the Marines might come across simulated improvised-explosive devices. If they find an IED, they train on how to react and report its location back to base.
“IEDs are big in Iraq right now,” said Brower, a Wayland, Mich., native. “It’s good for (the Marines) to learn how to deal with them if they ever encounter one.”
The Marines also provide security around the FOB. The entire base is surrounded by amphibious assault vehicles watching for any enemy movement. They set up a vehicle check point and an entry control point to make sure no unidentified personnel enter the base.
“We teach them how to be able to do anything just in case they get put into these situations,” Brower said. “We try to make it as realistic to Iraq as possible out here."
“We want them to be as prepared as they can be for deployment,” Curry explained. “We could deploy on a moments notice, so we do training like this as much as possible to stay sharp.”