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3/9 Attacks Simulated Enemy in Enhanced Mojave Viper

Marines and Sailors with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment defended their position and attacked a simulated enemy during Clear, Hold, Build Exercise III in the Combat Center's Quackenbush and Gays Pass training areas, June 17 and 18.


Cpl. Margaret Hughes

The exercise is a two-day training event set up as a battalion defense throughout the first night, then transitions into an offensive counter attack against the enemy the following morning, said Master Sgt. Brian Criley, the assistant operations chief for 3/9.

The exercise is part of Enhanced Mojave Viper, a pre-deployment training package that concentrates on multiple scenarios of warfare, said Capt. David Chin, an instructor controller for Tactical Training Exercise Control Group.

"We are training to give them a full spectrum of operations," said the South Brunswick, N.J., native.

3/9 is one of the first units to train through EMV.

During the exercise, each company set up their defense as the simulated enemies pushed forward. A platoon of tanks and amphibious assault vehicles were attached for the exercise to support the battalion. Artillery and close air support were also provided, with both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, said Criley, a Butler, Pa., native.

The night was filled with explosions in the distance from tanks, close air support and artillery attacking the simulated enemy.

As the fight progressed late into the night, the enemy started their dismounted assault when the companies in the defense were able to attack with the final protective fire.

"The FPF is a mass of fire power that stops the enemy from progressing," said Capt. Nathan Dmochowski, the assistant operations officer for the battalion. "It's basically a wall of lead."

Mortars, grenade launchers and all weapons commonly used in an infantry battalion were fired down range to stop the simulated enemy in their tracks.

Early the next morning, the battalion and supporting units changed from defense to an offensive counter attack to eliminate the enemy.

The tanks initiated the attack as each company "leap frogged" one another after each objective point, Criley said.

"The overall goal is to kill the enemy," said Gunnery Sgt. Carroll Williams, the company gunnery sergeant for Company I. "But we want our Marines to take a lot away from this."

This exercise will teach the Marines and Sailors a lot of different skills, said the Pomona, Calif., native. They will learn how to set up a battalion defense, what it takes to sustain a detailed operation for over 24 hours and how to transfer from the defense to the offense.

Clear, Hold, Build Exercise III is one of the many training events 3/9 has endured over a month of pre-deployment training aboard the Combat Center. Each event will teach the Marines how to fight and make quick decisions in any situation or environment, Williams said.