MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, sweat it out in the desert June 26 to July 2 during Summer Heat, an annual battalion training exercise here.
“We are going to be doing a mix of things. We have support-by-fire missions with the tanks, we are going to practice assaulting a town, we’re making calls for indirect fire, and we will practice setting up a battalion-size assembly area,” said Sgt. Joseph H. Halles, a platoon sergeant with 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Tank Bn.
The battalion is taking advantage of the opportunity to get as much training in as possible and reforming after some of the companies have returned from deployment to Iraq.
“For us, the battalion is just beginning to reform,” said Lance Cpl. Zachary M. Dennis, 24, a loader with 3rd Plt., Co. A, 1st Tank Bn., from Silverton, Ore. “We have a lot of new people that need to get used to being on the tanks, and because this field operation is larger than the majority of the others we participate in, it gives them a good chance to get the practice they need.”
Some of the Marines on the tank crews are not new to the unit, but have recently been assigned a new billet and feel they need the practice available during this exercise.
“I think this training is important because I am new to being a gunner and it will give me some field experience, changing from being a loader before,” said Cpl. Daniel C. Dellenger, a gunner with 3rd Plt., Co. A.
The annual training exercise will help prepare the Marines from the battalion for any upcoming deployments.
“This will help prepare us for everything on upcoming deployments, from the little things like getting used to weather conditions or just the living conditions in general,” said Dellenger, 22, from Sugarland, Texas. “It’s learning how to fight like you train, pretty much.”
Coming out with the battalion is another step in the training evolution for these Marines.
“It’s like, you crawl before you walk, you come out here with your company and then you come out here with the battalion and everyone shows what they have been learning in the separate company training exercises,” said Halles, 24, from Richmond, Va.
Doing training like this helps the battalion complete all of their annual training requirements.
“We are preparing to be able to deploy at anytime,” said Halles.