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Dragon Fury '03

Marine Corps News


Story by Lance Cpl. Jeff Zaccaro

MARINE CORP AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- To complete the final training segment of their Force Deployment Planning and Execution training, Command Service Support Detachment 36 took to the field Monday, Oct. 28, to conduct Operation Dragon Fury ?03.

The five-day embarkation gave Marines from CSSD-36 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 the opportunity to see what they would have to do before, during and after a real life contingency.

The Marines from both units were tasked with performing an embarkation to the field, set up a fully functional base camp and perform field-training exercises.

For the Marines, setting up the base camp consisted of setting up a functional postal, chow and medical tent, and install wood floors, electricity and heating where necessary.

They were also tasked with setting up a Combat Service Support Operations Center with a satellite communications center.

The CSSOC provided the officers of CSSD-36 the opportunity to practice their roles in a contingency by setting up maps, schedules, process incoming requests from the field and relaying them to the necessary engineers and equipment operators. The CSSOC was also an established point of communication where every Marine could be accounted for at any moment.

After the base camp and bivouac site had been set up the Marines started attending field-training classes. The classes ranged from field first aide, taught by CSSD-36 and MWSS-171's field corpsman, to squad movement and weapon systems taught by Marines from Okinawa's 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

After the classes the Marines were separated into their teams and were put to the test in a day of patrolling, defense and squad movement drills.

The classes the Marines received were a needed review for the Marines when it came to the practical application according to Cpl. Sean Deist, CSSD-36 hazardous material safety noncommissioned officer, who said "We started off slow because we haven't done these things for a while. With the classes and practice we actually started looking like a patrolling team."

Each team was comprised of 10-15 junior Marines with an NCO team leader, and gave the Marines an opportunity to see their role in a combat situation, as well as gave Marines the opportunity to step up and become a leader.

"Being in teams was a great learning experience," said Cpl. Stacy Petway, CSSD-36 maintenance integrated management systems clerk. "It gave the junior noncommissioned officers the chance to set up and take charge of Marines in a combat environment."

After the Marines had become comfortable working as a team in a tactical manner, it was time for a full day of stations to test all the Marines' capabilities and develop further skills they may need in combat.

The stations ranged from rope bridges, a leadership traits class, a litter obstacle course, a mine clearing station and the Chinchi-Lagua.

All the stations helped the Marines become more confident in their combat capabilities, but the Chinchi-Lagua was one that helped Marines learn strengths that extend beyond pull-ups, sit-ups and crunches, according to Staff Sgt. Armando Lozano, CSSD-36 administration chief and Chinchi-Lugua referee. The station was set up where one team would build a bridge with their team members and the opposing team members would have to run and jump onto the bridge until it collapsed or all the members were on.

"The Chinchi-Lagua required teamwork and concentration," said Lance Cpl. Tommy Winfield, CSSD-36 combat engineer. "It built confidence in our team and made everyone depend on each other."

After the stations pushed the Marines to the limit, they were once again put to the test the next morning by a unit hump through the steep terrain.

When the Marines had returned from the hump they were given their final test of their combat effectiveness in a half-day long paint ball game. During the game the teams went head to head to see which team could put forth the knowledge and effort to defeat the others.

"The paint ball game was an excellent exercise that helped us with our squad rushes," said Cpl. Collin White, CSSD-36 refrigeration mechanic. "Using paint ball guns gave us practice that can't really be accomplished with blanks, it was a very effective training aide."

To wrap up the field training exercise the Marines were treated to a barbecue and bonfire before taking down the camp and heading home the following day.

"Everything went better then planned," said Capt. Michael Masteria, CSSD-36 assistant operations officer. "Morale was high and everyone was happy to be here doing what Marines do."

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