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Tanks, infantry team up, train up

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Marines are trained to fight as a team, using everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to accomplish the mission. This goes on from the individual fire team level to battalions of different job fields coming together for mission accomplishment.

The Marines and sailors of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, along with support from Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, perform platoon sized clearing exercises in the “Clear, Hold, Build-1” training during Enhanced Mojave Viper at Range 220 Sept. 5, 2011.

“This is the first time, as a unit, we have trained with tanks and we have learned more in one morning, with practical application, than a week in the classrooms,” said 1st Lt. Logan Deffner, 1st platoon commander with Co. D, 1st LAR.

“This is a good opportunity for the younger Marines because most of them have never operated with another unit and don’t see the bigger picture [outside what their individual jobs are,]” said Gunnery Sgt. Eliesel Rivera, the platoon sergeant for Co. A, 1st Tanks. “For the infantry guys today, this lets them see what the tanks can do for them.”

In addition to having tanks available for support, the unit also had bomb sniffing Labrador retrievers embedded with the units.

“We have sent the dog ahead of us and he found some IEDs so we maneuvered around them and continued with the mission,” said Lance Cpl. Richard Morton, a dog handler with Co. D, 1st LAR.

The dog had helped the unit avoid multiple IEDs and proved the old saying ‘smooth is slow and slow is smooth’ helps keep Marines alive, he added.

Once the Marines made it into the buildings, Deffner stressed that every Marine keep their eyes open for any potential threats of danger.

“Everyone is an information gatherer,” Deffner said. “If you see something that could be important, don’t keep it to yourself, start passing it up your chain of command.”

Article by Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms