MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
More than 50 Marines with the Female Engagement Team conducted crew-served weapons training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 19.
The instruction was part of an overall training package to prepare the female Marines for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The FET will undergo a variety of training evolutions including advanced medical aid, cultural awareness and physical training.
“I did physical training twice a day to come to the FET,” said Sgt. Angela E. Arounerangsy, a 25-year-old team leader with FET 12-1. “This is a really intense type of training. You’ve got to be on top of your fitness level. It’s going to push you a long way and put you through tough times.”
The Marines recently completed the combat lifesaver course, radio and communications training and language courses and received their humvee licenses.
Lance Cpl. Austin L. Walswick, a 20-year-old team member from Platt, S.D., said the training is invaluable especially since the FET Marines are diving into a new occupation.
“It is something that we have got to do so we get the job done and do it right,” Walswick said.
The FET’s role in Afghanistan is to open the doors between the Marines and the Afghan locals. They can provide medical attention to families and basic education and speak to Afghan women while increasing relationships and building trust.
“The FET supports the battle space mission by engaging in relationships between the battalion and the people,” Walswick said. “The females are a huge asset because we are getting down to the cultural levels in a respectable manner.”
One of the challenges the FET faces in this training is the combat lifesaver course. The Marines must maneuver through a confidence course with all their gear and weapons while saving a Marine in a simulated exercise.
Arounerangsy’s CLS experience opened her eyes.
“When I went to the end I was told to stop, and immediately I knew what I did,” Arounerangsy said. “I essentially killed the Marine I was trying to save and it hit me hard. I knew I had just killed him or her because I didn’t know what I needed to do.”
Arounerangsy said she gained the knowledge and confidence to use her training if the situation calls for it.
The training simulates scenarios to physically and mentally prepare the Marines for a deployment.
“You have got to get that combat mindset and without this training I don’t think you’d have it,” said Arounerangsy, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. “I have full trust and confidence in everyone I’m training with and all the training that has been set up by Advisor Training Cell. We’re going to be successful out there.”