News: MAC provides route clearance support
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Platoons of Marines came rushing out of MV-22 Osprey’s while artillery fire pounded an enemy village during clear, hold, build exercise 2 here, Aug. 26-27.
Marines with Mobility Assault Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion conducted route clearance missions in direct support of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, during CHB-2.
CHB-2 is a part of their Enhanced Mojave Viper training in which a company size element must assault an enemy held city, establish a defense and begin to rebuild.
EMV is the final stepping stone for deploying units headed for Afghanistan.
“Our mission was to clear a route to the battalion objective in order to allow for a re-supply to 2/3’s Marines,” said GySgt. Greg Hardin, 32, route clearance platoon sergeant from Tuolumne, Calif. “Our route clearance mission here is no different than what our mission will be in Afghanistan.”
While 2/3 Marines were inserted via MV-22 Osprey to their objective, MAC cleared a path using dismounted sweepers, improvised explosive device detection dogs and an array of mine resistant vehicles.
“This training allowed us to become familiar with the equipment that we will be using in country,” said Cpl. David Perry, 26, a combat engineer from Boyne City, Mich.
Marines encountered a variety of IED’s along the stretch of road, many of the devices they found were identical to those used by enemy insurgents.
“For us this is realistic training, this is what we will be doing when we’re in Afghanistan,” Hardin explained. “You have to prepare to the point that the actual operation doesn’t require thought. All of the different movements and placement of the vehicles has to become second nature.”
Many senior Marines who have already completed tours to Afghanistan try to pass on what they’ve learned to those with less experience.
“Doing practice like this is a good way to make sure the new Marines have a better understanding of how to do their job,” said Cpl. Jacob Lillie, 21, a combat engineer from Bushnell, Ill. “That way when they find themselves in combat they will know what to do.”
After successfully clearing the route, the re-supply convoy was able to reach 2/3’s position safely. Once deployed, MAC will provide route clearance support to many different battalions.