TWENTYNINE PALMS, California --
The pounding sun of the Mojave Desert beats without mercy on Company D, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force as they perform final maintenance checks on their M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks before embarking on a large scale assault incorporating multiple elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force: the Tank Mechanized Assault Course.
Company D took on the TMAC Feb. 2 at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms as part of Integrated Training Exercise 2-15. Tanks provide direct and indirect fire to support other units within Special Purpose Marine-Air Ground Task Force 4 at ITX 2-15.
“We have two tank platoons and a mechanized infantry platoon moving up to assault three objectives,” Said 2nd Lt. Brent C. Teague, a tank officer with Company D, 1st Tank Bn., 1st Marine Division, I MEF.
The TMAC provides good, applicable training for different units because it allows them to train in open space on a scale Marines don’t often have, according to Cpl. Phillip V. Lim, a tank crewman with Company D, 1st Tank Bn., 1st Marine Division, I MEF.
“A big way this helps us train for real-world application is if there are mechanized infantry in the desert environment, or open ground, you’re going to want tanks to be able to push through and defeat threats as the infantry closes in and controls the objective,” said Teague, a McDonough, Georgia, native. ITX 2-15 uses every element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in one area to be successful in mission accomplishment, according to Lim.
Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms allows the Marines of Company D to work closely with other units, during ITX 2-15, while being able to employ all of their capabilities, according to Lim, a Derby, Kansas, native.
“Twentynine Palms is great for training, especially for units coming from Okinawa, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; or Camp Lejeune, North Carolina because we can really spread out and get the dispersion we would truly like to have in a conventional mindset,” said Teague.
They will be using their tactics and capabilities to support other elements of the MAGTF in ITX 2-15, according to Teague.
“The tank capabilities that are going to be showcased in ITX are our ability to shoot, move and communicate at the same time over the rough terrain,” said Teague. “We can move and close on the enemy at a high rate of speed and set the support, by fire, to allow the infantry to move in.”
The company has a lot of new faces that have not had a lot of time to train together, yet, according to Lim.
“I hope the Marines under me can learn on how to better use our tank and how to employ our tank, as tactically as possible,” said Lim. “We’re working together as a platoon and on the bigger scheme, as a company.”