3/8 Marines bound for Japan

4 Dec 2000 | 2ndLt Paul C. Cabellon

Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment will leave for a six-month deployment to Okinawa to conduct training under the Unit Deployment Program Saturday."We live to deploy," said LtCol. Louis N. Rachal, battalion commanding officer. "The battalion is extremely excited about the upcoming deployment. We have trained hard over the past year and we are anxious to be forward deployed where we can use our skills in an operational setting, should the need arise," said Maj. Timothy E. Winand, battalion operations officer. "We have many exciting training opportunities ahead of us, to include Fuji and Korea, and we look forward to continuing to enhance our units' combat readiness and show other nations' militaries the tremendous capabilities and professionalism of our battalion and our Corps." While in Okinawa, 3/8's mission is to provide responsive and fully ready ground combat capability in support of III MEF contingencies throughout the area of operations. "We're ready to see the other side of the world. We've done a lot of workup for this one. We had a good CAX (Combat Arms exercise) in August," said Capt. Anthony M. Marro, Kilo Company commander. "For a lot of them, it's their first deployment. They've worked hard, spent lots of time in the field and I think they're ready." In addition to the August live-fire exercise, the Marines received training in nuclear, biological and chemical readiness, and were evaluated in September. A small number of Marines also attended a small-arms weapons instructors course in November.Training for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines did not stop there. Family readiness remained at the top of the list. "The Key Volunteers network is strong and healthy. We have a lot of quality wives in the battalion who believe in the program," said Jaquelyn Rachal, Key Volunteer coordinator. "We want to make this as smooth as possible for everyone during this time. There is a definite integrity to the program and the coordinators have the families' best interest at heart." The Marines and their families have attended a number of meetings to settle questions and issues that may come up while Marines are overseas during the holidays. All this preparation has 3/8 ready to go. "I'm really excited to get this underway. (I am) just ready to see what Oki's like," said Lance Cpl. Matthew D. Chupp, battalion legal chief. "I'm looking forward to Fuji. Climbing Mount Fuji is going to be a new and exciting experience for me," said Lance Cpl. Trevor A. Darrell, database clerk. "This is going to be a chance to see the other side of the world," said Cpl. Roy V. Jones, Weapons Company clerk. "Don't have any family, but I'm leaving my pit bull at home. He's alright --he doesn't care too much." During their six-month tour, the Marines will conduct various training exercises to include the new Marine Corps martial arts program."This is a chance a lot of people don't get in a lifetime and I'm excited to go," said Lance Cpl. Todd L. Wallis, Springdale, Ark. native and ammo man in the 81mm mortar platoon. "I'm looking forward to this new martial arts program and can't wait to get started." "(I am) anxious to see what I'll face. I'm looking forward to getting to meet new people and experience some new training," said Lance Cpl. Feroze M. Munim, Kilo Company clerk. "This new martial arts program must be a good idea." "We get to do some jungle training and I'm excited about that," he added. Marines will also take part in jungle warfare training and rifle requalification."We're looking forward to getting these Marines qualified at the (rifle) range," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Lynch, assistant operations chief. During the deployment, the point of contact for the battalion is Staff Sgt. McWhite, family readiness staff noncommissioned officer, at 451-1054/1095. The battalion information line is 451-1087. The Marines are expected to return to Camp Lejeune in June.