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Units extend helping hand
Strengthening 'reach' with combined arms


Story Identification Number: 200348221635
Story by Cpl. Ryan D. Libbert

CAMP FUJI, Japan(April 9, 2003) -- Selected units from 3rd Marine Division recently participated in a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) within the training area here.

Marines of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, conducted a battalion size assault on a particular objective. The Marines utilized F, G and Weapons Companies during the CALFEX. The objective was broken down so each company could attack possible locations where simulated enemies were located.

According to Sgt. Charles R. Lee, squad leader, G Company, each company that completed its own objectives brought the battalion closer to completing the goal for the exercise.

"On the live fire range, there were simulated enemy positions. Each company was tasked to attack those positions," the Phoenix, Ariz. native said. "The battalion wasn't running the range at the same time. We had separate objectives for each company. It was a full-scale attack for the battalion, but at the same time, the companies got to do their own training - as far as conducting their own live-fire ranges and maneuvering exercises."

Each company spent a full day on the range. When not firing, the companies rehearsed their maneuvers or posted security, Lee explained.

"On Thursday, G Company did blocking positions for the battalion so the rest of the companies could finish their live fire and maneuvers," Lee added.

The CALFEX also gave training opportunities to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and Combat Assault Battalion, as they worked to support the training objectives of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.

"The role of (C Battery) was to support (2nd Battalion) in the quickest and most efficient way possible," said 1st Lt. Nolan L. Moxley, executive officer, and Sheridan, Wy. native. "They had a three-prong attack, and (the battery) was there to support their maneuvering elements and attacks by helping to destroy and neutralize parts of the enemy force."

The artillery Marines of C Battery operated at a high level of professionalism in support of their infantry brothers, added Moxley.

"The Marines performed awesome. They were motivated, learned a lot and continued to keep that motivation, despite the weather elements that were out there," Moxley continued. "Exercises like these are important because they give the Marines a chance to support the infantry. It is our mission to maintain the capabilities to support the infantry."

Further assistance was given to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines by elements of Combat Assault Battalion. Combat Assault Battalion, which is a composite of light armored reconnaissance, amphibious assault vehicles and combat engineers, was there to assist the infantrymen by clearing a path through dangerous terrain.

Marines from 1st platoon, Combat Engineer Company, utilizing assets from an Amphibious Assault Vehicle and a combined anti-armor team, were tasked to breech minefields during the CALFEX, explained Sgt. Kevin M. Smith, squad leader.

"We started out by going to an intersection in a road where we sent up our defense," the Toccoa, Ga. native said. "We then went up to the breeching area and called for an in-stride breech, CAAT team recognized it and we blew a line charge off. Once it was blown a line marking team went out and marked a road for them to drive through."

Once 2nd Battalion had a way through to their objective, Marines from Combat Assault Battalion's Light Armored Vehicle platoon guided them the rest of the way, explained Staff Sgt. Bill T. Denman, platoon sergeant.

"Our role in the CALFEX was to provide screen line missions in our sector," the Kilgore, Texas native said. "It was our job to cover G Company's movement to one of the battalion objectives using (light armored vehicles)."

Every unit participating in the CALFEX was part of a rare experience. This type of exercise is not a regular occurrence in the Marine Corps, according to Capt. Jacques Sims, range control officer for Camp Fuji.

"It's rare that Marines find themselves in an area where they can conduct combined arms training in the Pacific area," the Kaneohe, Hawaii native said. "Camp Fuji is the only place in the Asia-Pacific region where the Marine Corps can conduct this type of training. The last CALFEX that took place here was the winter of 2001."

Each unit that participated in the CALFEX had a high opinion of one another after seeing them in action. They proved that teamwork has been and will always be a valuable asset

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