CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines of I Marine Expeditionary Force concluded a ten-day MEF-level exercise where they tested their training and readiness to deploy in support of combatant command operations Feb. 23, 2015, aboard Camp Pendleton, California.
The exercise allowed the headquarters element of I MEF to test its warfighting ability and evaluate its current readiness to support operations around the world. Marines worked together to ensure they are able to sustain hundreds of Marines in a real-life situation.
During the training Marines of the MEF faced a simulated enemy and scenarios to which they had to think about and respond accordingly.
“Right now we are focused on our headquarters and that’s what the last ten days has been all about,” said Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, Commanding General, or CG, of IMEF.
There are no planes flying, no troops shooting rounds, this is headquarters training, said Berger. All elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force had their expeditionary headquarters set up in the field. The Marines brought only those items they would use in the field.
“Not knowing where you are going you have to be able to fight with what you are carrying with you so all of the stuff you are seeing out here is part of that,” said Berger. “Take what we need and be able to self-sustain yourself anywhere in the world.”
The training integrated members of the U.S. Army as well as the Canadian and British Armies. By bringing in those counterparts they would be deployed with in a real-life situation, Marines can gain a better understanding of operations in a joint environment.
“The last thing we want to do is go somewhere and figure out who are you and where are you from, we need to spend time with the forces we anticipate we are going to fight alongside so we can understand how they think,” said Berger.
Training culminated with the surrender of the simulated enemy and I MEF accomplished what it had set out to do for its ally.
After the task was accomplished it becomes clear how important it is to plan ahead and keep your troops informed.
“The hardest thing is not getting sucked into the moment sucked into what’s happening now in the next few hours, at this level we have got to keep our horizon out 72, 96 hours out,” said Berger.