BRIDGEPORT, California — The Marine Corps is an expeditionary force designed to fight anywhere in the world. Marines must project force rapidly, and accomplish a full spectrum of military operations and in every clime and place. This summer, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 23rd Marines, 4th Marine Division, proved their ability to operate in any clime and place in the mountains of Bridgeport, California, during Mountain Exercise 3-18.
After completing Integrated Training Exercise 4-17 last year, 2nd Bn., 24th Marines, took part in MTX 3-18 June 13-July 3, 2018, to develop small-unit leadership, and build familiarity and confidence operating in a harsh climate and scenarios the battalion could face in the future. The purpose of MTX is to provide a training and limited assessment package that challenges units to plan and perform operations tasks across the warfighting functions in a cold-weather, mountainous environment.
“The purpose of Mountain Exercise is for the Marines to develop small-unit leadership and to build themselves through challenges in the mountains of Bridgeport,” said Sgt. Maj Anthony Weber, the battalion sergeant major of 2nd Bn., 24th Marines. “After completing Integrated Training Exercise last year, the Marines are continuing to enhance their strengths and abilities to be the ultimate combat athlete.”
Upon arrival, the Marines were given pre-environmental training classes by instructors from MWTC. The training covered critical skills for overcoming the mental and physical challenges associated with operating in mountainous terrain: mountain operations, mountain health, cold weather survival, knots and rope systems. Training focused on building the individual Marine’s ability and confidence to climb or cross mountainous terrain features and rappel down a multitude of different rock faces, but also focused on building 2nd Bn., 24th Marines, ability to work as a cohesive unit in an austere environment.
“MTX is really meant to challenge us mentally and to push us beyond our limits, especially since we’re from the midwest and don’t get to see stuff like this too often,” said Lance Cpl. Sovaja Knox, a team leader with 2nd Bn., 24th Marines. “A lot of our enemies are already in this type of terrain. So we need to be prepared to face this type of stuff. Being out here, I really want us to build our unit cohesion. Everything that’s going to challenge us physically, we’re going to need each other to push through. I also think MTX is really helping us to stay more focused and disciplined on our tasks at hand. You really have to stay focused if you want to complete this task.”
Hard-chargers with 2nd Bn, 24th Marines, met and exceeded their training objectives and will continue to build the capabilities gained at MTX when they return to their home training centers.
“What I really want the Marines to take away from MTX is the respect to the mountain,” Webber said. “This will continue to be an excellent experience for every Marine across the board; no matter the rank, position or billet they hold. Everyone here is being tested to a whole new level. And, at the end, we’ll see who has come out on top. The Marines are already standing stronger now than when they first got here. This will ultimately determine what our level of leadership can be so we’ll be able to prepare for the future and for whatever our next mission will be.”