Photo Information

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, dig in and prepare a battalion-level defense during Exercise Desert Scimitar aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 12, 2014. Desert Scimitar is an annual combined-arms exercise to ensure I Marine Expeditionary Force is prepared to face any crisis worldwide.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley

2/4 Marines use Exercise Desert Scimitar 14 to its fullest

28 May 2014 | Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley

Marines of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, recently participated in Exercise Desert Scimitar, an annual combined-arms training evolution, aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 11-16. The battalion’s primary task was supporting 1st Marine Division during the I Marine Expeditionary Force exercise.

Desert Scimitar is a large-scale exercise that allows the ground, air and logistical elements of the MEF the opportunity to operate in a deployed environment. The goal of the exercise is to ensure that the I MEF is prepared to effectively respond to any crisis worldwide.

The combat center in Twentynine Palms allows the Marines to test their skills while training in a live-fire scenario on a larger scale than the battalion is usually afforded.

“Desert Scimitar overall is an opportunity for command and control assets and fire support assets to get out in the battlefield and practice together,” said Capt. Patrick Joseph, company commander, Golf Company, 2nd Bn., 4th Marines.

The added space gives the battalion an opportunity to train the unit from the smallest to the largest element.

“This really afforded us an opportunity not only as a company but as a battalion to pull it all together and work defensive and offensive operations,” Joseph said.

The battalion was going to take advantage of the training environment at Twentynine Palms, said Lt. Col. Mike Wilonsky, the battalion commander. The base offers types of ranges and conditions that are not as accessible on Camp Pendleton. The Marines will encounter various training conditions and locations in the coming months.

“We’re in the seam of the second portion of our pre-deployment phase training, where we get into the specialized piece of it and also hone our conventional skills,” said Wilonsky.

The battalion was operating under slightly unusual circumstances. Many of the Marines in the unit were younger and of lesser rank and experience, yet they were still required to hold billets with large amounts of responsibility.

The Marines did an excellent job overcoming their lack of experience, said Wilonsky. He was pleased with the performance of the battalion, the execution of the training and his Marines’ accomplishments.
 
“We performed way above where I thought we were going to,” said Wilonsky. “I couldn’t ask for better results than we got.”

The Marines of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine, are scheduled to train at Bridgeport Mountain Warfare Training Center later this year to improve the units’ ability to operate more effectively in a deployed environment. Their continued training keeps them ready and focused to deploy whenever and wherever they are needed.