MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Applying a reaction and escalation of force plan to any kind of scenario is one way Marines maintain their status as elite warriors, and the way to perfect the process is to train constantly for different situations.
The Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, the “Apache,” practiced that role Feb. 5 during exercises involving improvised explosive device reaction drills, mounted patrolling and EOF in preparation for the final exercise (FINEX) of Mojave Viper.
“In order for everyone to understand and work together, we rehearse the roles we must know for Iraq,” said Pfc. Edmond N. Gortor, a scout with A Co. “[Training] lets you know that whatever situation may come up, you already know what’s going to happen in the end.”
The training schedule was comprised of five different lanes: IED reaction, EOF, mounted patrolling, car searching and detaining and building of vehicle check points.
“These exercises were a great way to teach the new guys everything that we know and everything they will encounter in Iraq,” said Lance Cpl. James K. Hartert, a scout with A Co. “[For example], in this training the language barrier is there, just like Iraq, so it’s very realistic.”
All companies with 2nd LAR have been participating in this training at once to ensure all are on the same page.
The FINEX began Feb. 8 and the battalion’s readiness will be at a high level when it’s completed.
“The FINEX will have a good impact on my Marines,” said Cpl. Matthew D. Delacruz, a scout team leader with A Co. “It will help them become used to harsh conditions in combat.”
The “Apache” not only used time to train but to become a more cohesive unit and build on their strong bonds. After spending every day with each other for more than three months, the Marines know they are ready for whatever comes their way.
“When I think of Iraq, I know that I’m nervous,” said Gortor, 21, from Newark, N.J. “But those feelings go away because I know that I have fellow Marines there to make sure that nothing happens to me.”
The Marines with A Co. look forward to further training until they deploy in spring 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I look forward to helping the Iraqi people and catching the bad men to protect the country,” said Gortor. “I am glad to serve in the Marine Corps and help people that need our help.”