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CSSG-3 slated to support HCAX

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 1/19/2004

Story by Lance Cpl. Michelle M. Dickson

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(January 16, 2003) -- The Marines and Sailors of Combat Service Support Group 3 aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, are preparing to deploy to the "Big Island" to take part in the Hawaii Combined Arms Exercise (HCAX), to further refine their skills in a wartime environment.

The HCAX, held at the Pohakuloa Training Area, is an exercise where various units train together to simulate actual wartime situations and experience what it's like to have to depend on each other to complete the mission at hand.

"The role we play in this training mission is being the first to go in, and the last to get out," said Capt. Alison Daly, commanding officer of Headquarters Co., CSSG-3. "We come in first to set things up, and leave last to ensure the other units get out. We remove all equipment and supplies that are brought in."

The first priority for CSSG-3 during the HCAX evolution is to support air and ground combat groups, then itself.

Secondly, the Group will prepare for future combat situations. Further, during the HCAX, Group Marines will simulate safe evacuation of noncombatant units in a hostile environment.

"Training like this gives CSSG-3 the chance to get on live-fire ranges, she said. "We have a training schedule for the Marines that will constantly keep them busy in the area."

The Group has more than 350 service members participating in the training this time, only leaving some behind to prepare for Freedom Banner '04 in Korea.

Colonel James Harbison, the commanding officer of CSSG-3, has made it a goal to get the unit much more active with training, and to get the Group off Oahu as much as possible.

"Cobra Gold was the first exercise in 10 years that CSSG-3 deployed to in Thailand," said Daly. "CSSG-3's plate is now full with training, but that's because we made it that way."

In addition to the grueling training schedule on the island, HCAX training will take place at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet, providing cold weather that can be very trying at times. The Marines will be supplied with fleeces and other cold weather gear in preparation for the colder climate.

"We know that, at times, Marines will be put in harsh conditions for long periods of time without any relief," said Daly. "It's good that they train in these conditions. When the time actually arises, they will be prepared."

The main body will arrive at HCAX Tuesday, but the first group of CSSG-3 departed Jan. 10 to set up security and get prepared for the month to come.

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