MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – If a Marine is wounded on patrol, calling back to base is the military’s 911, and the combat operations center is responsible for quickly coordinating a medical evacuation and all other lifesaving support.
When they deploy early next year, Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) are the ones responsible for that kind of complex support. To practice these skills that will save lives in Afghanistan, Marines with the I MEF (Fwd) command element use Camp Pendleton’s Battle Simulation Center for their Mission Rehearsal Exercise, which began, Dec. 5.
“We are supporting the entire MRX with our facility 24 hours a day,” said Cpl. Clarence Lamin, a Marine Air Ground Combat Team Training Warfare Simulator operator.
The Battle Simulation Center provides a place for Marines to develop their abilities while working in a notional Combat Operations Center.
“We do warfighting simulation support,” said Lamin, 21, from Philadelphia. “We can give a commander and his staff the training they’ll need before they deploy. We provide scenarios and challenges for the Marines working in the COC to figure out.”
The Battle Simulation Center has highly trained Marines who support multiple types of training exercises.
“The Marines who work here train the trainers,” said Staff Sgt. Godwin S. Fenuku, staff non-commissioned officer in charge, Battle Simulation Center. He said that they also recruit other Marines to role-play as opposing forces.
The Marines who conduct training at the center are headquarters-level Marines who quickly relay information to their superiors and local friendly forces.
“We provide them tools, so they can validate their (standard operating procedures),” said Cory W. Buckney, network manager, Battle Simulation Center. He said they use computer programs to simulate challenges usually seen in Afghanistan.
The Marines who work at the Battle Simulation Center create scenarios as realistic as possible to test the capabilities of the Marines participating in the exercise.
“They get the same kinds of tools and reports as if they were really in the field,” said Buckney. “The scenarios are real things that happen too, such as having a platoon commander killed and now having the platoon sergeant take his responsibilities.”
Providing support is an important role for anyone who works in a COC, and the Marines of the Battle Simulation Center provide the final test for Marines deploying to Afghanistan.
I MEF (Fwd) will accept the responsibilities of Regional Command Southwest from II MEF (Fwd) early next year. Marines with I MEF (Fwd) will partner with Afghan forces to train and advise them in counterinsurgency operations, so they can provide security and stability for their country.