CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Reserve military members often wake at a normal hour after sunrise and go to their civilian jobs or college classes.
This winter, however, for the Marines of Headquarters Battalion, 4th Marine Division, the California sun means they have been up for hours preparing for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Time off for the Marines has been a myth, said Capt. Brian Kerg, executive officer, HQ Bn., but the training is invaluable.
“It’s very important because if you don’t do it [training], when you get into a real situation you won’t have those skills and abilities,” said Sgt. Mark Stickney, platoon sergeant, HQ Bn. “It’s a muscle memory, when you do it on the range you will be able to do it in real life when that situation comes.”
The Marines will continue training seven days a week until Christmas, and then everyday until they leave for Afghanistan. This training will prepare them for the mission ahead.
“We are going over as part of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, and we will be acting as mentors and advisers to the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police,” said Lance Cpl. Alexander Foucher, motor transport operator.
The Marines will be guiding and assisting the Afghan Army and Police non-commissioned officers to ensure they are training their men correctly. This will include weapons handling and maintenance, tactics and discipline.
Yet, this mission is no ordinary deployment for these Marines. Most of them are from reserve units responsible for communications or motor transportation.
Kerg says it’s difficult to form a unit out of several companies across multiple states but added the Marines have come together well.
“The workload we are throwing at them is tremendous,” said Kerg, a native of Piqua, Ohio. “But they perform everyday like Marines and are knocking things out of the park.”
More than just performing their assigned duties, the Marines of Headquarters Bn. appear excited and ready to go.
“Ever since I joined, I have wanted to go to either Iraq or Afghanistan and work with the people over there,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Adkins, data technician. “It seems like something that is going to be beneficial for my character as well.”
The Marines also know the importance of the success of their mission.
“The most important mission in Afghanistan is to ensure they can secure their own nation once we leave,” said Foucher, a native of Bradford, Pa. “We need to make sure it’s in secure hands, and that they know what to do once we leave.”
The Marines of HQ Bn., 4th Marine Division intend to do just that with their mission and are going to train everyday in order to accomplish their goal.
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This work, Reserve Marines actively prepare for deployment, by LCpl Ned Johnson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.