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    Photo By Lance Cpl. Mackenzie Binion | U.S. Marines and Sailors with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Mackenzie Binion 

    15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    The sun rose from the crest of the horizon, over the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command 19.1. The morning light danced along the dust kicked up from a Marine’s back stroke with the shovel.
    Clouds from the southwest crept eerily close to the command post, threatening rain. The storm, projected to cause massive flash flooding, was incentive enough for the Marines to start hunkering down.
    Trenches were dug to prevent the vital equipment inside the command post from being damaged or destroyed. Sandbags were placed along the edge of the trenches to further control the flow of water, as well as across the base of the tents to keep them from blowing away in harsh winds.
    Marines were taking part in Talon Exercise 1-19, set at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, when news of the impeding Hurricane Rosa was heard. Knowing that Yuma only receives about 3.6 inches on average per year, the Marines were surprised at the amount they were forecasted to get within the coming days.
    Surprised, but not unprepared.
    Dirt was everywhere. The Marines took breaths polluted with the familiar yet bitter taste of the desert sand as they spent all morning digging their trenches and filling their sandbags.
    The unit was in class when the rain finally hit. Out of breath and wetter than a sponge, Capt. John Ed Auer, the company commander, walked into the classroom and spoke to the Commanding Officer quietly as not to disturb the class.
    Auer calls all to listen, “The storm has started and the main camp is fine, however, there will need to be a working party to work on the communications tent that has flipped over.” At that moment the Marines dismissed the class and began to run to the command post. After running a half a mile or more through the rain, they arrived at the already soggy camp.
    Immediately springing into action, Marines swarmed the command post and began the laborious task of cleaning up and further fortification.
    The first thing noticed was the absence of sound. The main generators had been shut off to prevent any further damage to the electronics. The sun was also absent, replaced by angry, dark clouds. The communications tent was flipped on its top with equipment strewn about. Shovels and sandbags were passed out as Marines hurried to repair the camp.
    Moving with speed, resembling the perturbance of an ant hill, all the Marines with the SPMAGTF CR-CC 19.1 started putting the command post back together. Everyone was doing something, all working together and knowing instinctively what needed to be done as if all the Marines were one organism.
    It took several hours for Marines to get a foothold. The trenches had to be re-dug and gear had to be accounted for. Plans were adjusted and Marines remained flexible.
    At long last, a collective breath taken by the entire unit seemed to settle the excitement. A calm encompassed the unit like the break of the storm; the absent birds returned their songs resumed.
    A tin roofed pavilion was the sanctuary. Everyone gathered for roll call to ensure all the Marines were safe. Some brought food and ate some much needed pizza, others just sat and joked about how the sweltering desert heat had turned to the horrendous downpour.
    Although sustaining some damages and going through the ringer, the Marines maintained a positive attitude. Nothing could weather their spirits.



    Date Taken: 09.30.2018
    Date Posted: 10.03.2018 11:11
    Story ID: 295195
    Location: YUMA, AZ, US 

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