III MEF Marines expand integrated training opportunities at convention

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Col. Preston W. Jones, from Harrisonburg, Virginia, gives opening remarks during the III Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise and Training Convention Nov. 25 at Camp Hansen. (Photo by Pfc. Cedric Haller)
Col. Preston W. Jones, from Harrisonburg, Virginia, gives opening remarks during the III Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise and Training Convention Nov. 25 at Camp Hansen. (Photo by Pfc. Cedric Haller)

III MEF Marines expand integrated training opportunities at convention

by: Pfc. Cedric R. Haller, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: December 05, 2014

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --  Marines from various units throughout III Marine Expeditionary Force gathered for the III MEF Exercise and Training Convention Nov. 26 at Camp Hansen.

The convention focused on evolving unit-level training integration and training exercises between different units in III MEF.

“I’m convinced that many integrated training opportunities are missed, because (Marines ) and their respective units don’t know about the integration opportunities that other units may offer,” said Col. Preston W. Jones, the training and exercises commanding officer for III MEF. “This provides a venue for them to talk, learn and coordinate with sister units across the island, which provides opportunities for integration that would build on itself, because Marines will learn from each event how to take advantage of the next training opportunity.”

The convention was set-up much like a job fair, in which Marines walked around from table to table and learned about training capabilities and limitations, points of contact, upcoming exercise plans, and training opportunities across the Marine Air Ground Task Force.

“By us coming here today, we were able to showcase the capabilities we can provide to the overall MAGTF, show how we can better assist units in their training and in return ask how they can help us,” said Capt. Caleb W. Sackett, operations officer with Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. “There were a lot of good simulations at the convention that I learned can enhance training for the air and ground combat elements.”

The convention established an initial relationship between officers and staff noncommissioned officers within III MEF and major subordinate commands to develop future training opportunities.

“Being here to verbalize what we can provide has been a benefit for us and will continue to be a benefit for us the further we get into these new relationships, which will help us out in the long run,” said Sackett, from Erin, New York.

The focus and magnitude of this event, being first convention for III MEF, created a unique opportunity for unit planners to build lasting relationships within the MEF.

“This is my first time attending one of these exercise and training conventions,” said Gunnery Sgt. Alexander H. Orellana, the training chief for 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF. “It allowed other commands to learn about how 3rd LE Bn. can be a force multiplier during training and exercises, and the MAGTF as a whole.”

With positive feedback from the attendants and the general consensus being that the convention was a success, it is something that III MEF is looking forward to having again in the near future, according to Jones, from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“Having all of the representatives present is what made this event a huge success,” said Jones. “Training will have improved across III MEF over the next few months, because of this convention. I can tell by some of the conversations I was hearing that the potential is off the charts.”