CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines participated in exercise Steel Knight aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 9 to Dec. 16.
Exercise Steel Knight is a combined arms live-fire exercise that creates a realistic environment for Marines to train as a maneuver force across a wide range of military operations. The annual training event prepares 1st Marine Division for deployment as the ground combat element of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
The interactions between units during Steel Knight create a sense of camaraderie and establish relationships before deployments.
Gunnery Sgt. Michael Pascalis, company gunnery sergeant with 2/1 headquarters platoon, says the exercise tested Marines physically and mentally.
“We had a thinking enemy that allowed us to get creative with our problem solving,” said Pascalis of the training scenario. “ I would say the physical and mental aspect of the exercise reinforced the hard work we’ve done over the past few months.”
During the exercise 2/1 Marines engaged in partnered military operations while 1st Marine Division exercised command and control over large forces to ensure units are ready for combat operations. Most importantly, Steel Knight allowed 2/1 the opportunity to examine their role in a large-scale objective, where each unit’s actions could potentially affect another.
Sgt. Robert Kelly, the 2/1 Headquarters platoon sergeant, was responsible for leading resupplies to adjacent units and conducting casualty evacuations.
“If some of our guys run out of water, food or other necessary supplies, we do everything we can to get what they need and push it out to them by any means possible,” said Kelly. “We have to make sure all of our guys have the gear they need to stay safe.”
Pascalis says the exercise was a great experience for the Marines.
“The exercise went very well,” said Pascalis. “We went to the field against an enemy who was trying to beat us, and we came out on top. It’s an awesome feeling.”