MARINE CORPS BASE KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii -- Marines with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion began the first phase of a mission rehearsal exercise to prepare for their upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit here, Aug. 13.
For several days, the Marines patrolled through thick jungle, coordinating with their command element as they reached various checkpoints and overcame adverse scenarios.
“This was an exercise that tested our capabilities in deploying forward with a complete headquarters and platoon structure,” said Master Sgt. David Jarvis, the operations chief for Alpha Company, 1st Recon Bn.
The Marines, stationed out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., inserted by helicopter in the dead of night. They traversed foreign terrain in humid weather as they monitored potential enemy movement and activity. The new environment required the Marines to adapt quickly to their surroundings.
“Working in this environment is a challenge for the Marines,” Jarvis said. “It doesn’t give them a lot of time to acclimatize or understand the environment they are in.”
The training evolution began with a mock scenario with role players, counter-reconnaissance teams and coordinating with radio reconnaissance Marines. The script constantly changed based on the Marines’ reactions to the different scenarios.
The role-players tried to make the exercise as realistic as possible by reacting to the Marines coming into their area. The day after the Marines inserted, several role-players with rubber Ak-47 assault rifles in hand investigated the landing zone and checked for any signs of the Marines.
“The role-players react to the movements and decisions made by the Marines,” said Sgt. Alex Sanchez, a team leader serving with Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn., who served as a role-player during the exercise. “It forced the teams to plan and then react to how we responded.”
After several days moving silently through the heavy foliage, the Marines broke contact and raided a suspected enemy stronghold. After successfully neutralizing all combatants, the Marines returned to base. Once there, they assessed the information they gathered and began planning for the next phase of their training.