MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Marines and sailors of I Marine, Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group are normally responsible for things such as administrative support, but from, Oct. 31 - Nov. 5, they lived up to the motto “rifleman first.”
The Marines and sailors completed a week-long exercise dubbed “Sentinel Fury” to get accustomed to field operations. Many of them will deploy to Afghanistan early next year.
During the exercise, Marines trained in a simulated hostile environment and conducted first-aid drills, foot patrols, and entry control points.
“I think this is what every Marine wants to do,” said Master Sgt. Ernest Cardenas, operations chief, I MHG. “The MHG Marines got out of the office and got to jump, shoot and get a little dirty.”
Although many of the Marines hold administrative positions, they are refreshing their combat skills because they need to be prepared for the worst in an area such as Afghanistan.
“I’m glad I know this stuff,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Barron, an administration specialist with I MHG (FWD). “I’ll know what to do in case I get called upon to do something like a [vehicle control point].”
Typically sunny and warm Southern California weather didn’t appear to be on the Marines’ side during the time they spent in the field, but they made the best of what they had.
When the rain started “all the Marines seemed to enjoy the exercise even more,” said Cardenas, 41, from Long Beach, Calif.
The training was built around counterinsurgency operations being conducted in theater today as many of the Marines involved prepare for a 12-month deployment beginning early next year. On Nov.4, Marines trained with role players to all a level of realism to the exercise.
“If and when some of the Marines are on a patrol they need to know what to do,” said 1st Lt. Brice C. Turner, military working dog platoon commander, Military Police Support Company. “Now they know what needs to be done on a patrol and how to do it.”
“I’m very excited to be deploying,” said Barron. “I’m looking forward to the experience.”
In Afghanistan most of I MHG’s Marines will be supporting the mission behind friendly lines, but because of the uncertainty of war, they need to be prepared to join the fight at a moment’s notice.