News: 1st CEB begins Enhanced Mojave Viper
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, headed for Afghanistan, began their pre-deployment training after arriving at Forward Operating Base Four, Aug. 10. Upon their arrival, troops immediately began to fortify their location with concertina wire and defensive positions.
All units deploying to Afghanistan are required to undergo the Marine Corps’ premiere desert warfare training evolution called Enhanced Mojave Viper. Engineers will be occupying FOB Four and providing direct support to the infantry battalions conducting similar pre-deployment training here.
“This is the first time a combat engineer battalion has participated as a battalion at Enhanced Mojave Viper,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Niebel, the battalion commander for 1st CEB.
Marines will be given a better idea of the living conditions to expect once in a deployed environment.
“This training will benefit the Marines because they are living in a more expeditionary environment. They don’t have a lot of the creature comforts they’re used to,” said Maj. Michael Beckhart, the executive officer for 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. “It forces small unit leaders to those issues and adjust to the environment.”
The 1st CEB will be incorporating a wide range of assets and mission sets during EMV in order to prepare for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. IED detection dogs, route clearance, assault breaching vehicles, forward operating position construction and barrier planning.
“Traditionally the battalion is split into platoons and attached to other units, so this is an opportunity for the entire battalion to train as a whole,” Beckhart explained. “Other battalions with engineers attached have them set up as a direct support role but don’t get the chance to interact with CEB as a whole.”
Due to the high rate of IED attacks in Afghanistan, 1st CEB’s training will be focused on countering IEDs with route clearance – providing a safe path to travel that is free of obstacles and hazards.
“It gives a commander the ability to maneuver through his battle space and reach the center of gravity which is the Afghan people,” Niebel explained when asked about the importance of route clearance. “Engineers need to allow that commander the ability to provide a safe environment for local Afghans and conduct engagement. They enhance mobility in an improvised explosive device laden environment.”
The 1st CEB Marines have high expectations for their upcoming training as they prepare for combat.