I MEF (FWD) conducts pre-deployment training

21 Oct 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

  Marines and sailors with I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD) are cycling through a pre-deployment training program at Camp Pendleton, to prepare them for a spring-time deployment.

The week-long training covers different aspects of what service members might see in Afghanistan and refreshes common skills including medical training, patrolling and weapons familiarization.

“It’s very essential for any Marine, because it gives them that chance to focus and hone in on some of those things they may have forgotten how to do,” said Sgt. Randal Gamble, I MEF (FWD) force deployment chief.

Not only does the PTP refresh and sharpen skills, but it makes them aware of the ever-changing war being fought in Afghanistan.

The PTP week begins with culture training where Marines and sailors learn about the Afghan culture during a presentation encompassing customs, beliefs and their general ways of life. Later in the week, Marines and sailors move to the improvised explosive device lanes course where they see threats they may encounter in country.

“The basic intent of the course is to raise awareness of IEDs as far as their use in the battlefield, what to do when you encounter an IED and what not to do,” said Loren Hutton, 25, a counter- IED training specialist with the Marine Corps Engineer Center.

The course allowed the Marines and sailors to see what some of the latest IEDs look like and how they are concealed on a trail.

“For a first-time deploying Marine, it is an introduction as to what they really should be looking for,” Gamble said. “It’s a little more realistic and gives you the tools you need to identify it before it’s too late.”

After getting a close up on possible threats the Marines and sailors are reacquainted with their rifles at the marksmanship course, allowing them to engage possible threats at close distances and on the move.

After the range is completed the service members move to the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer simulator which lets the Marines experience the confusion, noise and disorientation experienced during a Humvee rollover.

More than 11 separate groups will go through the training prior to deploying. This allows all Marines deploying to receive the same training and be able to fill in multiple positions if needed. I MEF (FWD) will assume command of all Marine operations throughout southern Afghanistan and begin its yearlong deployment in spring 2012.