‘Gator Bn.’ stays flexible in training

2nd Marine Division
Story by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez

Date: 10.23.2013
Posted: 10.23.2013 15:36
News ID: 115618
‘Gator Bn.’ stays flexible in training

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, conducted a battalion-level field exercise from Oct. 17-22 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

The Marines focused the training on challenges and tasks they could face while deployed, from amphibious operations to assaulting and defending urban terrain.

“These exercises are important because they increase our proficiency. Our units will get called on quite often to deploy with [Marine Expeditionary Units] and other deployments such as Afghanistan,” said Capt. Bret Presley, the Bravo Company commander, and Odessa, Texas native.

Heading out 2,000 meters into the Atlantic Ocean, amphibious assault vehicles were ready for their first ship-to-objective maneuver. They turned around into formation, gradually increasing speed to reach and raid the beach.

“The amphibious operations we provide are a huge asset to the Marine Corps because we keep the Marine Corps amphibious,” said Presley. “Without us, Marines would have to rely on other agencies in order to conduct a beach landing.”

Knowing the importance of being able to operate in water, the battalion also knows they have to remain flexible in order to complete the wide variety of missions the Marine Corps receives as America’s “911 force” in readiness.

Another training mission the Marines had to execute involved military operations on urban terrain. Each company was split in half, one-half tasked with defending the town and the other tasked with assaulting the town.

“Urban operations are difficult to begin with. Adding in different units when we do unit collaboration makes it even harder. So it is effective to work out our kinks before we do this with the infantry,” said 1st Lt. Michael Bianca, a platoon commander with the battalion, and Huntsville, Ala., native.

Days of training out in the field takes a toll on the Marines.

“We dealt a lot with human factors over the numerous operations over the past few days,” said Bianca. “Unit morale, fatigue and hunger all began to affect our decision making, which is why we train this way – to reach our standard. Our standard remains the same no matter what the situation.”

Every training exercise the Marines completed was one step closer to the culmination of the field exercise.

“‘Amtrackers’ are known for being flexible and being able to conduct any mission, whether it’s assaulting a beach and taking it over or supporting the infantry in an urban environment; both of those are gained by doing this training,” added Bianca.

The battalion also conducted combat marksmanship and gas chamber training.