MCAGCC TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The sun peaked the skyline at 5:34 a.m. June 1, 2015, at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms as Marines from 1st and 2nd Battalions, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force set out to begin pre-deployment training.
Marines from 1/7 and 2/7 are currently in preparation for deployment with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) scheduled to depart in support of Operation Inherent Resolve later this year.
Last week, both battalions participated in the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE), a prerequisite for deployment with the SPMAGTF. The goal of the MCCRE is to ensure that infantry regiments, battalions, aviation detachments, squadrons, deployable companies and others, all meet the minimum biennial training requirements prior to deployment.
Lieutenant Col. David J. Hart, the battalion commander for 1/7, said that seeing the Marines in action gives him a picture of the readiness of the battalion and how they can improve operationally.
“Plans will always change and give way when in contact with the enemy,” said Hart. “However, in a controlled evaluation like this, we can see the fundamentals for every military occupation specialty and the ability our Marines have to complete the task at hand.”
For the 7th Marine Regiment, the evaluation started early in the morning as the Marines departed in 7-ton troop transportation vehicles and Humvees, quickly pushing toward a range known as “Morgan’s Well” to begin their MCCRE.
The evaluation began with forward observers calling for indirect fires on targets from 60 and 81 millimeter mortar teams and M777 howitzer artillery. Sniper teams engaged precision targets while machine gun teams took position on several ridgelines spanning the landscape and began suppressing three separate objectives.
“This MCCRE is definitely showing our strengths,” said Lance Cpl. Rory Fuller, a machine gun section leader with 1/7. “Although we have a few new Marines straight out of the School of Infantry, I honestly can say that my Marines are confident and more than capable of completing anything we’re tasked with.”
A maneuver element of rifleman, assault men and engineers pushed through and secured all three objectives while moving under supporting fires. At ground level, the rifleman engaged and suppressed targets allowing assault men to shoot shoulder-fired rockets, paving the way for the engineers to breach obstacles and secure the objective alongside their supporting counterparts.
“It’s incredible to see this amount of firepower and how well we’re able to utilize it for our mission set,” said Capt. Matthew Pederson, an infantry officer with 1/7. “These Marines are an incredible asset for the SPMAGTF to have.”
Marines from 1/7 and 2/7 continue to work and train to support of Operation Inherent Resolve and remain ready and relevant to participate in future contingencies.