CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Translating communication into firepower from afar, Marines with 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, integrated with I Marine Expeditionary Force units to perform a fire support coordination exercise on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, from July 14 through 24, 2015.
More than 300 Marines and Sailors with 4th Tank Bn. came to Camp Pendleton for about 2 weeks to conduct the battalion-level annual training exercise. During this time, they practiced counterinsurgency operations with supporting arms, aviation and logistics units.
Company D and H&S Company, 4th Tank Bn., pulled together to conduct the training along with supporting elements from 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion and 4th Medical Battalion.
Lieutenant Col. John P. Valencia, the commanding officer of 4th Tank Battalion, said the exercise pulled together each unit’s unique capabilities.
“What’s particularly valuable about this is the integration of active and reserve units," he said. "We have the important task, as MARFORRES, to support other units and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.”
Sprawled over positions in the blistering summer heat of Southern California’s training grounds, the units provided fire suppression for amphibious assault vehicles moving around the simulated battlefield.
“This is a very important exercise that grants us the opportunity to push our rural fighting proficiency,” Valencia said. “It prepares us to execute our future missions.”
While it’s not a rare occasion for MARFORRES Marines to conduct a large scale field exercise, working alongside active duty forces is less common. This opportunity strengthens the relationship with units the reserves can be called upon to support, said Captain Alexander R. Diener, a fire support coordinator with 4th Tank Bn.
“Integrating fire and maneuver is actually something special for us to do, even in the active duty force. Usually the battery goes out and operates separately from maneuver operations, which would contain notional fires, but it’s completely different integrating the two,” said Diener.
“Coming out to Camp Pendleton and training on this level also provide our junior Marines with a complex example to work with. Here, we’re out in a different setting where the elements aren’t constant. It’s defiantly an awesome opportunity, and I hope MARFORRESS will be able to conduct more integrated exercises in the future," Diener added.