Marines make repairs, enable future training evolutions
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines stationed on Okinawa are no strangers to the sometimes dangerous conditions that come with destructive weather. The island was recently struck by Typhoon Jelawat, which caused damage to various training ranges Marines use in order to maintain their combat effectiveness and mission readiness.
Damage to training areas can be a setback for many units. However, for the Marines of Company A, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, this was both an opportunity to train and a way to prepare ranges for future use by other units.
The battalion, a part of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, repaired damaged huts at range 402 in the Central Training Area Oct. 2-5 to enhance proficiency, enable future training evolutions, and build unit cohesion.
"The purpose of the training is to ensure the Marines maintain proficiency in their military occupational specialty," said Gunnery Sgt. Chitty Phouthapadith, the training and current operations chief for the battalion. "In the end, other Marines on Okinawa will be able to use what was repaired by our Marines to train and maintain combat readiness."
The huts can be used in many different ways, according to Sgt. Matthew A. Seamons, a combat engineer with the battalion.
"The huts are temporary structures that can be used to shelter Marines and equipment or function as office spaces," said Seamons. "(The typhoon) damaged this training area, so we used the opportunity to sustain our skills as combat engineers."
The training was effective because Marines with varying levels of experience worked together to accomplish the mission, according to 1st Lt. David A. Padgett, a platoon commander with Company A.
"Some of the Marines just returned from Afghanistan and are able to use their experiences to help train the newer Marines," said Padgett. "It helps build camaraderie within the unit while getting some good training."
Combat engineers are an important asset to the Marine Corps, according to Lance Cpl. Kevin R. Sabatucci, a combat engineer with the battalion.
"We revitalize the areas for training operations, rebuild anything that has been destroyed, and build anything needed to accomplish the mission," said Sabatucci.
Many of the Marines enjoyed the opportunity to conduct hands-on training.
"It really brings out our unit cohesion," said Sabatucci. "We like to play around and have a good time, but we get down and dirty when it comes to getting the job done. I like the hands-on training, working with other Marines out in the field – it's a good environment."