MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Second Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, returned from an Afghanistan deployment in October 2011. Knowing they were slated for another tour, they aimed their sights at a full training matrix to achieve complete combat readiness.
In order to test their capabilities 2nd CEB launched a six-day training event May 1-6. According to Lt. Col. Eric R. Quehl, the battalion’s commanding officer, the exercise provided an opportunity to evaluate everything the Marines learned since returning and assess the battalion’s functionality as a whole.
“This is all part of a progressive training design,” said Quehl. “When you look at it through a crawl, walk, run standpoint, we’re still in between the crawl and walk phase. In some areas, the battalion is running very fast, and in some areas we’re still crawling.”
Qeuhl, a Saint Paul, Minn., native, explained one of the main focuses was to make sure everyone was on the same page. With a plethora of new Marines on deck, he said this was a good time for them to learn from their mentors.
“We’re getting new people in and we still have a core of combat experience at the battalion,” said Qeuhl. “A lot of these Marines have multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and a (Marine Expeditionary Unit). We’re getting a lot of new folks in, and we have to get everybody up to speed at what we do here at 2nd CEB.”
Marines tackled scenario-based missions, putting their abilities as an engineering battalion to the test, throughout the week. Gigantic assault breaching vehicles plowed through earth barriers while convoys crossing armored, vehicle-launched bridges followed. Marines patrolled surrounding areas and provided route clearance. Simulated ambushes and improvised explosive device attacks riddled the training grounds while casualty evacuation drills were conducted.
“We’re learning a lot out here, especially from the (noncommissioned officers) who have deployed,” said Lance Cpl. Mayer W. Cody, a combat engineer with the battalion.
Cody arrived to the unit in December and said being able to train with Marines who had previously deployed was pivotal to their mission success. Having combat knowledge passed down is priceless and motivates him and others to focus on their goal: provide mobility, counter mobility and survivability to the 2nd Marine Division, according to the Pewaukee, Wis., native.
“Once we got to the battalion, we started training right away,” said Cody. “Our NCOs are really experienced and are bringing us up to speed on how things operate. This training (operation), being with guys who have been there and done that, boosts our confidence levels so we’ll know how to handle these types of situations over (in Afghanistan).”
The six-day event gave the battalion an opportunity to hone in on their combat engineering skills and basic infantry tactics. Overall, the operation ran smoothly and the exercise was another step toward unit readiness and mission accomplishment, according to Qeuhl.
“A lot of skills they’re doing out here this week will better prepare them for when the battalion deploys to Afghanistan,” said Qeuhl. “We’re not just training for combat, but any type of event. We’re getting them ready for any clime and place. This battalion has a long time history of excellence and esprit de corps. That’s what we’re building on here, and that’s what 2nd CEB is striving to achieve.”