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Marines assigned to Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division are taught the proper method of fastening a Marine to a litter system during phase one of Mountain Warfare Training Exercise 5-15 aboard Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., Sept. 6, 2015. Phase one of MTNEX required the Marines and Sailors to participate in hands-on instruction which gave them the necessary skills used to conduct the rest of the exercise and to survive the austere, mountainous environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Will Perkins/Released)

Photo by Cpl. William Perkins

Bridgeport: HQ Bn. prepares to ascend Mountain Warfare Training

2 Sep 2015 | Cpl. William Perkins 1st Marine Division

Marines and Sailors of Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, prepared to conduct Basic Mobility Training during phase one of Mountain Warfare Training Exercise 5-15 aboard Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, California, Sept. 2-6, 2015.

Phase one of MTNEX required the Marines and Sailors to participate in hands-on instruction which gave them the necessary skills used to conduct the rest of the exercise and to survive the austere, mountainous environment.

Skills taught included tying knots, tactical casualty care and how to physically condition to combat the dangerous environment and intense training.

These skills allowed the Marines and Sailors to safely and effectively perform their duties during phases two and three which focused on building the individual’s ability to climb or cross mountainous terrain features and tested their skills in a single culminating event.

“They are going to be asked to do these things in a real-life scenario … they’re going to be hanging by those knots off the side of the mountain,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Richmond, the officer in charge of the exercise.

According to Richmond, the mountainous terrain, mental strain, physical stress and the effects of the high altitude were the main challenges standing in front of the Marines and Sailors as they learned the skills needed to conduct the next phases of the training.

Throughout phase one the instructors taught that maintaining a positive mental attitude to push past the challenges was essential to make it through the training. The instructors explained that this attitude, coupled with retention of the newly learned skills, were necessary for the Battalion’s successful completion of the exercise. 

Richmond explained that the overall purpose of the exercise was to increase the number of Marines within the battalion that have mountain warfare capabilities, strengthening its abilities to operate in a mountainous environment and allowing its personnel to pass on new skill sets to other members.

“I’m really looking forward to going back and teaching my guys the skills that I learn out here,” said Cpl. Matthew Semple, a digital wideband repairer assigned to Communications Company, HQ Bn., and a Champaign, Illinois native. “It’s a great team builder and all in all makes everybody stronger as an individual and a unit.”

At the conclusion of the five-day phase the Marines and Sailors were armed with all of the knowledge they would need to complete the next two phases of training and come out on top of Mountain Warfare Training Exercise 5-15.