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Marines and Sailors are greeted by Col. Michael Styskal and senior leadership upon their return to Marine Corps Base Hawaii from Integrated Training Exercise 2-18, Feb. 22, 2018. During the month long exercise, the Marines and Sailors participated in multiple training events to assess their combat readiness. Styskal is the commanding officer of 3d Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kathy Nunez)

Photo by Sgt. Kathy Nunez

Hawaii Marines return from ITX 2-18

8 Mar 2018 | SSgt Demetrius Munnerlyn 3rd Marine Division

Marines and Sailors returned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii Feb. 21-25, 2018 from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms after finishing Integrated Training Exercise 2-18.

The exercise joined 3d Marine Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 3d Marines; 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion 3 as a fighting force to complete this iteration of ITX for 30-days of rigorous training, making this the first iteration of the exercise that the majority of the Hawaii-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force participates in at the same time.

“ITX 2-18 was a huge success for the [Hawaii-based] MAGTF,” said Col. Michael Styskal, the 3d Marines commanding officer. “All of the units were able to work on fundamental combined arms tasks and executing a high end combat rehearsal in a harsh environment.”

The primary focus of the training was at the battalion and squadron level and was heavily reliant on combined arms training events that incorporate live fire and maneuver. The exercise used a standardized scenario that requires units to execute their mission essential tasks under field conditions.

 Enlisted and commissioned Marines junior in grade were challenged with unfamiliar roles.

“It was a rare and unique opportunity to serve as the lead intelligence officer for 2nd Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Williams, an intelligence officer with 2/3.

 The senior intelligence officer of an infantry battalion is normally a senior captain.

 There is a broad spectrum of events that a MAGTF will conduct including a fire support coordination exercise, combined arms live fire ranges, mobile assault course, motorized operations course, and more.

“Being integrated with my platoon and going straight into training was really good for me and allowed me to learn my job quickly,” said Pfc. Brooks Milling, an anti-tank missileman with 2/3. A young Marine who has recently joined his unit at ITX and participated in the final exercise event and the mobile assault course.

 The Tactical Training Exercise Control Group based in MCAGCC Twentynine Palms evaluated the Hawaii based MAGTF’s combat readiness.

“ITX helped us capitalize especially after coming back from a UDP [unit deployment program deployment to Okinawa, Japan] in December,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Moody, the operations chief for Battery “B”, 1/12.

 The battalions often work separately when back at their home stations. ITX gave them the opportunity to work together.

“This was a big eye opener for me,” said Cpl. Trysen Kamahele, a motor transport operator with CLB-3. ‘This was my first ITX and it was completely different from what we did [during our most recent deployment]. From doing IED lanes, recovery operations and resupply; I see how serious things can become.’

As his supervisor, Staff Sgt. Eric Tamayo expressed his opinion on Cpl. Kamahele’s performance. “Cpl Kamahele is humble and he understands that the mission has to be done in a timely manner,” said Tamayo.

 The Hawaii-based MAGTF was completed with the help of west coast units such as 3d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38.

“The Marines and Sailors that formed MAGTF-3 know their jobs and are great team players,” Styskal said. “Our biggest takeaway is that excellence in fundamental blocking and tackling across all the warfighting functions combined with good team works will make any unit successful.”

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