CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward) is ensuring its Marines are ready for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Marines with I MHG executed mounted convoy training during Sentinel Fury at Camp Pendleton, Nov. 2.
Sentinel Fury tests battle skills as well as I MHG’s ability to conduct security, sustainment and camp services functions.
“Today we went on a convoy to retrieve a broken-down vehicle,” said Cpl. Offie Wiseman, maintenance management specialist with I MHG. “We stopped at some checkpoints to make sure we didn’t spot an IED, and if we did, then we did the necessary procedures.”
Civilian contractors stood by to support the Marines with their training by acting as insurgents targeting the Marines with Instrumental-Tactical Engagement Simulation System equipment, similar to laser-tag.
Marines wore a vest and halo with sensors over their flak jacket and Kevlar helmet which plays sound effects and voice indicators to let Marines know they were killed or injured during the simulation.
The system can also be used to track Marines on patrol by Global Positioning System.
“All the vehicles were sensored with I-TESS equipment, as well as the Marines,” said Richard Giden, electronics technician for Katmai Government Services. “It allows them to know if they have been hit in any way shape or form via improvised explosive device.”
Marines reacted according to random scenarios, used combat tactics to attain the situation and pressed on with their mission.
As Marines patrolled a large area in Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles, they looked for IED indicators.
“We set up training IEDs,” Giden said. “They go off via [carbon dioxide]. They have simulated smoke and noise makers, so it will actually look like an IED has gone off without the effect of shrapnel and anything which may actually harm the Marines.”
Much was done to make the experience as realistic as possible.
“It was really interesting because, as an MHG, we really don’t get hands-on field experience on a daily basis like a lot of other units,” Wiseman said. “This is pretty new to us, so it’s good to work hands-on. It’s good training.”