9th Engineer Support Battalion prepares for deployment to Afghanistan
Many Marines have served valiantly during combat operations in Afghanistan. The lessons learned are continuously passed from one generation of Marines to the next, laying the foundation for less experienced Marines to deploy to Afghanistan, complete the mission, and return home safely.
Marines with Company F, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, completed a field training exercise May 15-17 on Camps Hansen and Schwab, and the Central Training Area in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“This training benefits the Marines out here because it gets all of them working together, driving the vehicles, and being able to shoot, move and communicate,” said 1st Lt. Robert M. Best, the executive officer of Company F, 9th ESB, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The
purpose of this training is to assess and evaluate this company’s preparation over the past couple months.”
The training consisted of familiarizing Marines with the M240B medium machine gun, applying proper convoy tactics, demilitarizing forward operating bases, and improvised explosive device detection training, according to Cpl. Sal J. Flores Jr., an engineer equipment operator with the company. It also gives the
noncommissioned officers another opportunity to lead Marines before entering a combat zone.
“Some of the Marines who have previously deployed used this exercise to enhance their military occupational specialty abilities and set the example as Marine NCOs by passing on what they have learned from prior deployments,” said Flores.
The exercise also ensured that all Marines experienced the same level of training, which will allow them to operate more efficiently when they deploy because of a shared understanding of all the required mission sets.
“We started preparing for this deployment a couple months ago, and this three-day field exercise was definitely beneficial for us,” said Pfc. Lukkas A. Lambert, a combat engineer with the company. “It was more hands-on training … the rainy weather was a test for us, but I think we all passed.”
Although the weather conditions were harsh at times, the Marines made the best of it by focusing harder on the training events, especially when they executed the IED detection training.
“There were three different lanes that the Marines observed during the detection training portion,” said Best. “They responded well with the patrolling and sending up reports of any simulated IEDs that were found as they went through the event.”
Coupling the IED detection and FOB demilitarization training, the Marines felt prepared to complete any mission during their upcoming deployment.
“I don’t know what other training we could do to better prepare us for this deployment,” said Lambert. “We’re tearing down a simulated forward operating base, which is what we’re going to be doing once we’re there.”
As the training ended, the Marines of Company F walked away with a better understanding of their future mission.
“At the end of the exercise, I felt confident in saying the Marines are fully prepared for this deployment,” said Best. “The new and old Marines with the company will perform well during our deployment.”