BRIDGEPORT, Calif. -- Marines from 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion faced high altitudes and low temperatures during a field operation exercise at Bridgeport, California, August 24-September 3.
Mountain Warfare Training is designed to teach combat skills and tests the Marines’ abilities to survive in mountainous environments.
The joint operation also invited Marines from 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, 2nd Intelligence Battalion, 6th Communication Battalion, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, and 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion to participate in the training events.
“This training is important because you never know what you’re going to be called to do,” said 2nd Lt. Cassidy Chaney, 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion platoon commander. “A lot of what military police do is infantry-esque, and we need to be good at those basic skills in an environment we aren’t use to.”
The training in Bridgeport began with two conditioning hikes followed by a five-mile movement to the first of three stops. Every three days, they hiked to a new location for the next portion of training.
The Marines divided into three companies and took turns participating in events such as land navigation, survival classes, tactical site exploitation, and rope bridge and stream crossing drills.
“The survival classes show us ways to stay warm and survive off of the land,” said Lance Cpl. Alex Aberle, a fire team leader with 3rd LEB, Alpha Company. “They teach us different ways to filter water and catch food here.”
In addition to the knowledge the Marines received through instructor-led classes, they also learned a lot about themselves. The steep hills and high altitudes made it more difficult to breathe while conducting physical activities.
The Marines noticed that they would become light headed or nauseated while ascending the mountains.
“To be successful, the Marines have to be physically and mentally strong,” said Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, platoon sergeant with 2nd LEB, Charlie Company. “They can’t allow themselves to think they can’t do it, and need confidence to achieve the objectives we have out here.”
The training forces Marines to work together and push through challenges because the environment is different from what they experience at sea level. They rely on each other to cope with the difficulties as a unit rather than individually.
“This will improve unit readiness because it’s something we’ve never done before,” said Cpl. Nathan Scott, a squad leader with 2nd AAB, Bravo Company. “We are all adapting to the learning curve and we can use the new skills anywhere.”
Mountain Warfare Training was previously conducted exclusively for infantry units. As some of the first non-infantry Marines to complete the training, they were determined to make a lasting positive impression on the training center, and bring their newly acquired skills back home to help prepare their fellow Marines.