Capt. Michael Scaccia –
OKINAWA, Japan -- 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) Marines and Sailors successfully completed a rigorous Jungle Warfare Training event at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, March 2-4, 2022. 3D MEB Marines and Sailors, as well as reinforcements from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group and 7th Communications Battalion, enhanced unit and individual readiness through conducting a range of small-unit operations in the demanding jungle environment. The course included training on ropes, wildlife, casualty care, rappelling, survival, and culminated with a very challenging day-long endurance course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center (JWTC) in the dense foliage of the northern portions of Okinawa.
“Every Marine in the Fire Brigade fights,” said Col. Michael Brennan, Operations Officer, 3rd MEB. “We have taken the time to execute this tough and realistic training in order to improve our ability to be employed at a moment’s notice. We are fully aware of the challenges this environment presents, and we are training to manage those challenges.”
The training course served to enhance 3D MEB’s ability to perform specific combat tasks required for operations in a jungle environment. Specific training events ranged from tying knots, evacuating a casualty using various equipment, all types of jungle mobility through the steep, overgrown terrain. Some of the more memorable events included hasty rappelling down steep ravines, navigating the ‘pit and pond’ course in which participants must duck into muddy water in order to maneuver beneath obstacles, and carrying a 180-lb dummy casualty up and down jungle ridges. These obstacles were part of the final four-mile endurance course during which Marines and Sailors applied what they learned during the previous training.
“JWTC was a fun team-building event. It is rare to go run through a jungle as a financial analyst, but it was enjoyable to get back to the basics and at the same time learn from others in the command with so many years of Marine Corps experience,” said Sgt. Caleb Dunbar, Comptroller Chief, 3rd MEB. “This kind of training helps develop camaraderie and esprit-de-corps, and helps us all better understand the challenges of combat operations on remote islands, which is what expeditionary advanced base operations are all about!”
In addition to the MEB Marines and Sailors, reinforcements from adjacent and supporting elements jointed the MEB for the training. This enabled the reinforcements to gain experience operating with the MEB, integrate ahead of crisis operations, and rehearse how to work together to enable unity of effort. In addition, the training served to further develop relationships, establish comradery, and integrate the members of different units as a single cohesive team, therefore developing muscle memory in case of contingency or crisis in the Indo-Pacific Region.
“Not only did this exercise enhance our strong partnership with 3D MEB, it also enhanced our Marines’ understanding of the jungle environment and instilled confidence in their ability to traverse the difficult conditions,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Patterson, Commanding Officer, 7th Communications Battalion. “Our ability to maneuver is an essential element in providing assured communications for 3D MEB to exercise distributed command and control.“
The rigorous jungle warfare training further ensured 3D MEB’s ability to operate in any location necessary and demonstrated the ability to maintain operationally flexibility across remote locations in the First Island Chain.
The 3D MEB is able to rapidly respond to crisis and project combat power by providing an agile, standing headquarters that is uniquely capable and advantageously positioned to support operations within 24 hours that span the competition continuum. The agile nature of 3D MEB preserves the operational flexibility of III MEF and subordinate elements by offering scalable options and rapid employment as a strong nucleus to an alert contingency MAGTF, III MEF Forward, or Joint Task Force Headquarters, all of which are capable of performing multiple functions.
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