UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, Southwest Asia --
U.S. Marines with Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command conducted a mission readiness exercise at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Nov. 23-24, 2015.
SPMAGTF-CR-CC is currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, which focuses on defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
The training exercise consisted of a scenario where a forward operating base in the area of responsibility required SPMAGTF-CR-CC reinforcement as part of its crisis response mission spanning 20 nations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
The 2-day drill allowed the Marines to hone their responsive and reinforcement skills.
“[What] we are trying to get out of this is to gauge how responsive our company is, the standards we are looking for is six hours,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Philyp Whitaker, the executive officer for Co. C, 1/7. “From notification to tasking, we have six hours to do a rapid playing process, get the Marines embarked on MV-22 [Ospreys] and come in and reinforce.”
During the exercise, Marines sharpened capabilities such as quick reaction force employment, patrol operations, and emplacement and reinforcement of defensive positions.
“One of the things we worked on was our troop tasking when we first got here,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Cole D. Parkison, an assault section leader with Co. C, 1/7. “We worked on how to get organized as far as posts and rotations and how we would be able to run an element standing post, an element on QRF and an element out on patrol at the same time.”
The 1/7 Marines identified key components and mission critical capabilities when responding in support of the simulated forward operating base.
“We hadn’t loaded that much [gear] into an Osprey before,” said Parkison. “So being able to do that lets us know what we can bring and what is feasible and what’s not feasible.”
The exercise also integrated different assets needed to support a forward operating base.
“There is more than just the infantry side, there is detailed integration that has to happen with the [Marine Medium Tiltrotor] squadron and our company, also, the Law Enforcement detachment is out here working entry check point procedures with our guys,” said Whitaker. “In addition to that, we had an aerial delivery to test the survivability of air dropping water and food to us. So it does integrate the whole MAGTF, the command element, logistics command element, ground command element and aviation command element.
Throughout the duration of the exercise, the Marines also responded to different threats, such as indirect fire, improvised explosive devices and probing and harassing attacks in the vicinity of the FOB.
The exercise provided the Marines of 1/7 with hands-on experience to tactically execute rapid response missions.
“I am glad that we got to come out here and do this because it gives me a better idea of what I need to work on with my guys to make them more proficient on these kind of operations,” said Parkison. “It’s one thing to talk about it and come up with the greatest plan in the world, but when you come out here, you find out what actually works and what doesn’t.”