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U.S. Marines with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, and U.S. Airmen with 40th Helicopter Squadron from Malmstrom Air Force Base Great Falls, Montana, control aviation fires during Exercise Garnet Rattler at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Idaho, May 4, 2022. Garnet Rattler is a joint training exercise between elements of the 3d Littoral Anti-Air Battalion, 3d MLR, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to conduct simulated sea control operations and joint time on target strikes. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick King)

Photo by Cpl. Patrick King

3d MLR conducts Joint Exercise Garnet Rattler

4 Oct 2021 | Cpl. Patrick King 3rd Marine Division

BOISE, IDAHO — U.S. Marines with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division participated in joint exercise Garnet Rattler at U.S. National Guard Base Gowen Field, Idaho, from April 25 to May 11, 2022.

Garnet Rattler was a Joint Force training exercise between Marines and Airmen from the 40th Helicopter Squadron, 190th Fighter Squadron, and 389th Fighter Squadron. The purpose of the exercise was to train and qualify Joint Terminal Attack Controllers in a distributed and realistic training environment, and conduct MLR experimentation between the Regiment’s fire support coordination center and elements of 3d Littoral Anti-Air Battalion.

During the exercise, 3d MLR conducted air and ground-based fires training while implementing the use of experimental equipment. The training included artillery-based fire direction, airspace control, and long-range communication while integrating with the U.S. Air Force.

"For us, Garnet Rattler is a 3d Marine Littoral Regiment type of scenario. We're concentrating on incorporating combined arms. Instead of mortars, we're simulating a NMESIS Battery (Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System),” said Lt. Col. David Palacio, 3d MLR Fire Support Coordinator. “We’re not just using Marine Aviation; we’re incorporating the Joint Force with A10s, F15s, Air Force Hueys, and Marine F18s. We believe the future fight is a Joint Force fight.”

Garnet Rattler tested the 3d MLR Marine's ability to perform tasks typically operated out of large combat operations centers. The Marines set out to conduct Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations with dispersed and low signature locations ranging from 30 to 60 miles. The dispersion between the sites replicated the range between island chains in the Pacific and allotted for the experimentation of long-haul communication equipment.

U.S. National Guard Base Gowen Field, Idaho, provided a unique training area for the 3d MLR Marines to test Force Design 2030 communication initiatives. “The MLR's concept of employment is mainly distributed," said Master Sgt. Miguel Ofray, 3d Littoral Anti-Air Battalion Operations Chief. “If you take a step back and look at the geographical location of Idaho, the distance closely replicates a potential long-range communication scenario. This location allowed us to experiment and practice communications in a distributed environment."

The training closely reflected the Marine Corps' Force Design 2030 goal of manifesting itself into a more lethal and capable fighting force. The Marines and Airmen operated side-by-side while refining tactics, techniques, and procedures. Garnet Rattler enhanced the Marines and their Airmen counterparts’ ability to operate across multiple domains. The exercise also strengthened relationships between the artillery and aviation communities, a key component to operating in highly contested environments.

“We’re walking away from this exercise with more proficient controllers, and we're holding true to the 3d MLR mandate to experiment and push forward (emerging) Marine Corps capabilities," Palacio stated. “I'm proud of these Marines and what we were able to accomplish."