MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marines from Golf Company, 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted a field training exercise at Camp Lejeune’s Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility, Jan. 23-27.
The Marines conducted the exercise to evaluate the unit effectiveness and readiness for any situation which requires an intelligence company, said Maj. Marc Lewis, Golf Company Commander. This exercise is the culmination of a new type of training, which focuses less on regurgitating information and more on real world scenarios.
2nd Intel Bn.’s operations office conducted the evaluation of the exercise and training, said Maj. Rafe Stuckey, 2nd Intel Bn.’s plans and military occupational specialty training officer in charge. This is the third time the battalion has done this training, and each time the training is evaluated and updated.
Although this was the third field exercise 2nd Intel Bn. has conducted in the past year, this exercise was unmatched in size and scope. It is the first time the battalion conducted 24-hour operations while integrating defensive operations with intelligence collections and production. More notably, 2nd Intel Bn.’s collaborated with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 to provide real time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance collections. Marines were able to conduct aerial reconnaissance and route studies from aboard huey helicopters.
“The goal of this exercise is for us to be able to take a platoon of our intelligence Marines and say, ‘This is our ready platoon’,” said Lt. Col. Edward R. Sullivan, the battalion commanding officer. “For any contingency operation that could come up, these are the most ready Marines in the battalion.”
The training was initially designed to get a platoon ready. Over time the Battalion capabilities were recognized and the audience size switched to a company with battalion support personnel in order to have as many trained individuals as possible, said Lewis. A standard certification doesn’t exist, but more of this type of training will help the Battalion produce a final training procedure and certification.
The exercise was set up to simulate an intelligence operations center in an expeditionary environment. The Marines participated in gathering and analyzing different forms of intelligence while working in a field environment. Some of the scenarios were designed to catch the Marines off guard. For example, in one scenario Marines were giving an intelligence brief when they were interrupted by new information, in another, a Marine roleplaying as a civilian attempted to break into the compound.
“Over the last decade, we haven’t really had an opportunity to exercise intelligence in the states,” said Sullivan. “We’re trying to make it as realistic and as stressful as we can.” Making the exercise more realistic helps new Marines or Marines who have never deployed get a better understanding of operating in the field.
Golf Co. set up an entry control point, carried rifles when they left the compound, and slept in the MOUT facility for the duration of the exercise to make it a more realistic expeditionary environment. For many of the Marines, the exercise brought challenges they don’t face on a regular basis.
“This gives the Marines the feel of working out in the middle of nowhere. I think it’s a great simulation for being in a compound you may have constructed yourself,” said Cpl. Hunter M. Doney, the assistant day chief for the exercise. “I think it’s very good training for the junior Marines in the fact that it’s getting integration with all of our units.”