MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade are equipped and arranged to begin Large Scale Exercise 2014 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
LSE-14, which will run from Aug. 8-14, is a bilateral training exercise conducted by 1st MEB to build U.S., British and Canadian forces’ joint capabilities through live, simulated, and constructive military training activities.
Brig. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III, the MEBs commanding general, leads the force. The MEB is designed to respond to crises around the world in the same manner as a Marine Expeditionary Unit or a Special Marine Air Ground Task Force with further sustainability.
One of the MEB’s capabilities is to provide boots on the ground within 24-to-72 hours including setting up a command and control post. Through LSE-14, 1st MEB looks to develop its command element’s expeditionary capabilities.
LSE-14 revolves around a notional scenario in which the fictitious land of Acadia, a U.S. ally, has been invaded by their neighbor to the North, Dakota, in what seems to be an aggressive step in a larger plot to seize control over a great swath of land currently governed by Fredonia, another fictional ally.
“We’re in the fictitious land of Acadia which is represented by Southern California,” said Lt. Col. Doug “Lucky” Luccio, G-3 current operations officer with 1st MEB. The Dakotians have moved into Acadia and have occupied the land, so we have to fight to push [them] out.
The exercise will serve as a way to experiment different fighting techniques at the command element level.
Luccio said the event takes Marines from the garrison environment and places them in a tactical setting. Once in the field, Marines are forced to run into the same type of logistical challenges they would face in a forward-deployed scenario, having to overcome them while accomplishing the mission.
The exercise will also sharpen the MEB’s effectiveness when coordinating strategies in a joint environment.
“We expect that the exercise will challenge us to deal with things such as displaced personnel, the management of logistics, coordination of fire support, and cross-boundary coordination with adjacent units,” said Luccio. “We [have] the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade out here, which is our adjacent organization.”
A MEB is a force scalable to a particular mission, and can include vast numbers of Marines working in tandem under a single commander toward a common goal. To save time, manpower and money, 1st MEB will simulate some of the scenarios encountered during LSE-14.
“There are about 4,000 people participating in this exercise. If you look at the big picture, in order to deploy the entire MEB you’re looking at closer to 20,000 people total,” said Luccio. “You’re saving the manpower of about 16,000 people to do this exercise by simulating some of the training.”
1st MEB will employ a convoy simulator constituted by five Humvees and a logistics truck, each represented by a room with a Marine in it, and the computer-based simulation replicates the sights and sounds of a real convoy while providing tactile feedback to the operator. That simulated convoy—and every other simulated aspect of the exercise, from close air support to enemy actions—will be reflected in the real-time data fed to the MEB Combat Operations Center.
“We’ll have aviators get in a flight simulator; they will fly a mission we’ve tasked them, look for the enemy, engage the enemy, provide reconnaissance and give us some feedback on what they see,” said Luccio. “Everything the pilots see in the flight simulator, whatever the logistics guys see in the convoy simulator will all get fed into the operations center.”
Luccio added that even though parts of the exercise will be simulated, thanks to the technological capabilities of 1st MEB, it will feel real to the command element at all times.
“The primary training [during LSE-14] is for the command element of the [1st MEB],” said Luccio.
1st MEB will continue to stand ready for future operations around the globe, preparing for future exercises in support of the I Marine Expeditionary Force and maintaining the high levels of proficiency and standards that makes the Marine Corps America’s force in readiness.