CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with Alpha Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, participated in a Marine Readiness Exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 7-10, 2013, to demonstrate their mission readiness for an upcoming deployment.
The MRX is a culminating event held to evaluate a unit's preparation for a deployment.
The Marines demonstrated their ability to operate in high-risk situations and carry out tasks efficiently both individually and as a unit.
Some of the skills included convoy operations, immediate action drills, demilitarization exercises, cross training and teamwork.
“The MRX is a culminating event that allows units to be evaluated on the missions they may see in theater,” said Master Sgt. Paul A. Marion, operations chief, Alpha Co., 7th ESB. “It gives them an honest look at what their mission might be, and an honest evaluation from either a unit within the battalion, the battalion itself, or an external unit that can evaluate them without bias.”
For the Marines with 7th ESB, convoy operations are an extremely important aspect of the training.
“[Convoys operations] are crucial,” said Marion, a native of Cortland, N.Y. “Traveling anywhere can always be a threat. In country, leaving the wire is when you are vulnerable to the enemy’s most likely course of action, which is going to be [improvised explosive devices] and things of that nature.”
To prepare for those threats, Marines rehearse immediate action drills, among other things. They practice these drills until the action becomes instinctive so when something goes wrong, they are ready.
The applicable training gives all the Marines a chance to become proficient at all the primary skills, even the lesser noticed but equally important ones, such as demilitarization.
To demilitarize a site, Marines have to restore the area as if it was never disturbed.
“Actually getting out here and tearing down the defensive structures and doing the things that we will have to do in country is very beneficial,” said Pfc. Adrian Steeley, Alpha Co., 7th ESB, 1st MLG. “It helps keep our interest as opposed to notional training.”
The Marines also have the opportunity to see how their peers in different fields operate, and learn from them.
“On convoys, myself and two other guys sweep [for IEDs],” said Lance Cpl. David Graham, a generator mechanic with Alpha Co., 7th ESB. “In my [job field], that’s something we would most likely never see. It’s cool to do something different.”
The MRX is a way for units to see the fruits of their labor and build confidence in their skills and teamwork before they deploy.