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Infantry battalion shifts focus to jungle training

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Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program, conducted hasty rappel training at JWTC on Camp Gonsalves Jan. 8 as part of a nine-day course Jan. 7-15.

"This training is for us to work on our jungle tactics and our patrolling," said 1st Lt. Jefferson M. Dowdy, a platoon commander with the battalion. "It gets us accustomed to working in this type of environment and out of our comfort zone. The training also helps us maintain mission readiness."

Although the Marines are normally stationed in Hawaii, they only receive this type of training at a basic level, according to Dowdy.

"We do a pretty good deal of this training being stationed on Hawaii," said Dowdy. "We go out in the jungle there and brush-up on the basic skills, but nothing like the level of training we are receiving here."

The JWTC is the only jungle warfare training facility in the Department of Defense. It offers an unparalleled training experience for any Marine operating in the Asia-Pacific region.

"It benefits the Marines due to the fact that we are going back to what the Marine Corps has done before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by training for every environment," said Sgt. Garrett A. Sanders, the chief instructor at JWTC. "We are going back to jungle tactics and training. It gives them the skills to navigate in this type of terrain, which is important in (the Asia-Pacific region)."

Throughout the course, the Marines receive classes on techniques that help them in the jungle, such as fast-roping, hasty rappelling, crossing valleys via rope bridges, land navigation, and casualty evacuations.

"I think the overall training experience out here is good for all of us," said Sgt. Nathaniel G. McGinness, a squad leader with the battalion. "We are learning techniques to ensure we are effective in this terrain."

The Marines have been able to take what they have learned during their classes and apply it to various practical application scenarios, according to Sanders.

"Not only has it built their confidence, but it shows them exactly what they need to do to operate (in an environment they haven't trained in)," said Sanders.

Article by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle, Marine Corps Installations Pacific