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Marines of Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, prepare an M1A1 Abrams tank to receive fuel from a CH-53 Super Stallion with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 at Acorn Training Area, July 16, 2015. Each tank has the capability to hold 500 gallons of fuel.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd

‘1st Tanks’ demonstrates tactical efficiency

21 Jul 2015 | Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marines of Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, conducted a rare tactical refueling exercise at Acorn Training Area, July 16, 2015.

The exercise was conducted in conjunction with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 during the company's gunnery. A gunnery is a series of tests conducted by a tank company to evaluate platoon leaders and the Marines under their charge.

“We are out here for 10 days testing and training the Marines of the company,” said Capt. Christopher Upton, Company A commander. “We conduct gunneries annually.”

This year, Upton conducted a tactical refueling exercise during the gunnery to demonstrate how tanks can extend their range. 

“We conducted the [refueling] exercise because we have only used this while deployed,” said Upton. “I wanted to demonstrate that tanks are not a logistical burden and maintain the concept that we can extend our range tremendously.”

HMH-465 brought 800 pounds of fuel in a CH-53 Super Stallion to the Marines with the battalion. This opportunity demonstrated one way air and ground elements work together to increase combat effectiveness.

“The Marines here have not had the opportunity to do something like this,” said Upton. “This is the first time these Marines have conducted this exercise. I’m hoping that the Marines of both the HMH-465 and 1st Tanks learn from this.”

The company brought 14 tanks to the exercise and used the opportunity to improve themselves and the Marines of HMH-465. 

“I want to make them the best they can be while I have the chance,” said Upton. “I [also] want the Marines of this company to reflect on these great memories after they leave the Marine Corps.”

1st Marine Division