Desert warriors to return home; CAX 9-02 almost complete

12 Aug 2002 | Staff Sgt. Jason Huffine

More than 1,200 Marines and Sailors attached to Marine Air Ground Task Force 2 are scheduled to return home Aug. 16 following nearly a month training in the Mojave Desert.

The North Carolina-based warriors will detach from MAGTF-2, commanded by 2nd Marine Regiment's Col. Ronald Bailey, after their completion this week of Combined Arms Exercise 9-02 here.

Included in the Marines returning home, is Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. Commanded by Lt. Col. R. L. Grabowski, the "Keep Moving" warriors acclimatized and overcame the hot temperatures, dry-climates, mountains and sand associated with the desert combat center.

With the MAGTF, the battalion served as the ground combat element, and was one part of the combined arms concept. During the CAX, the battalion and its detachments orchestrated its war fighting tactics using its entire inventory. Tanks, machine-guns, grenades, mortars, and thousands of rounds of ammunition came together.

Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler challenged the battalion in mid-July to turn-up the training tempo at CAX like it had never before.

"When the sun sets tonight, will my 'warriors' be better trained?" the 2nd Marine Division commanding general asked the battalion's officers and staff noncommissioned officers during a MAGTF-2 wave-off last month at Lejeune.

And train did they.

From the initial introductions of the ranges off Range Road, to the exhausting completion of the CAX-known Range 400 series, the desert warriors trained non-stop. 1 /2 is currently taking part in CAX's "Final Exercise," a three-day war with a fictitious enemy designed to tie in the combined arms theme.

Other units returning to the Carolina shores include 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Bn.; Company B, 2nd Tank Bn.; and Company C, 2nd Assault Amphibian Bn.

MAGTF-2 is scheduled to start CAX 10-02 Aug. 21. Lejeune warriors 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines (reinforced) will act as the ground combat element. The unit is commanded by Lt. Col. P.B. Dunahoe, and is scheduled to arrive here later this week.

CAX is considered by many the most realistic live-fire training exercise in the Corps, and illustrates the Corps' aggressive and continuous approach towards training its Marines. A successful CAX is the culmination of the MAGTF applying the principles of fire-support coordination within those of combined arms and maneuver warfare.