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    China Marines storm Steel Knight 15

    China Marines storm Steel Knight 15

    Photo By Sgt. John Baker | Marines with 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiments move past a convoy to get to the front...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. John Baker 

    I Marine Expeditionary Force

    TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division participated in Exercise Steel Knight 15, aboard Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, from Dec. 12-16, 2014.

    Steel Knight is an annual exercise for 1st Marine Division where they bring each aspect of the division together to simulate a real-world combat mission.

    The exercise consisted of a large scale maneuver of division forces to seize notional objectives throughout the diverse terrain of MCAGCC. This required coordination from the highest and lowest levels within the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

    “The purpose of Steel Knight is to have a Marine Corps joint exercise,” said Sgt. Sean Kearns, from Washington, D.C., the radio supervisor for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. “We have amphibious assault vehicles, light armored reconnaissance, artillery, combat logistics battalion and everyone is coming together to accomplish one mission.”

    Everyone that participates in the exercise plays a specific roll in meeting various competencies tested throughout training. The success of the entire exercise is dependent on the success of each unit, explained Kearns.

    “In your unit, you have your commanders and small unit leaders working within their companies and sections to accomplish the battalion’s goal,” said Kearns. “This is much larger than that. Here at Steel Knight, we have battalions working with other battalions and attachments to accomplish the regiment’s goal.”

    The battalion started the exercise with their first objective. By quickly and efficiently taking the objective they set the pace for the rest of the Marines to follow.

    “The whole purpose of our objective is so 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines can push through the passage we made,” said Kearns. “Once through, they can move on to accomplish a division objective.”

    While rolling through their objectives, the battalion was supported by 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion who provided them with transport throughout the entire exercise.

    “The infantry likes using amphibious assault vehicles,” said Cpl. Christopher Hanke, from Abilene, Texas, a section leader with Company D, 3rd AABn. “We can fit 21 people with their packs in each vehicle and we can go over almost any terrain.”

    3rd AABN contributed more than just transport, they monitored the entire battlefield from inside their vehicles.

    “We are utilized to control all the fires and track everything on the battlefield,” said Hanke. “We wait for the rest of the units to push up on the objective and then we move forward so we can keep the communications established.”

    This combined arms approach allows both fire superiority and maneuverability on the battlefield, giving the Marines an edge that makes them an expeditionary firepower. These skills need to be practiced often to equate to success and Steel Knight 15 serves as an important wicket in that transformation.



    Date Taken: 12.12.2014
    Date Posted: 12.19.2014 16:27
    Story ID: 150796
    Hometown: ABILENE, TX, US
    Hometown: WASHINGTON, DC, US

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