By Cpl. Ian Ferro, Marine Corps Forces Reserves
GALVESTON, Texas — Under the sizzling Texas sun, the violent sound of waves splashes against assault amphibious vehicles, as they quickly dive into the Galveston Channel, echoes indicating the beginning of Company C, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion’s weekend drill at the Galveston Marine Corps Reserve Home Training Center, Aug. 8, 2015.
Training is vital to help reserve Marines maintain and improve their mission readiness. Every month, the Marines arrive at assigned home training centers to attend a drill weekend, where they perform exercises and required training. Four main events were the highlight during this drill weekend for the Marines of Co. C.
Saturday morning began in a swimming pool. From private to first sergeant, every Marine with the company is required to pass the intermediate swim qualification.
Afterward, the Marines transitioned from the pool into the AAVs to conduct basic amphibious operation exercises. During the exercise, the Marines drove AAVs from land to water and performed basic water operations such as left and right turns, circles and tactical formations.
“Reserve Marines have their military career as well as their civilian jobs, and sometimes it is hard for them to remember how to perform all the basic operations,” said Master Sgt. Juan Anorga, the operations chief with Co. C. “We always try to remind them of the basics and the small things first, so they can later take care of the bigger and more complicated situations.”
At the end of the basic amphibious operations exercise, a vehicle malfunction prevented one of the AAVs from reaching the end point. However, the Marines made the best of the situation and put their skills to the test. They used the stranded AAV to perform a vehicle recovery exercise.
“We had a vehicle going down, so we took advantage of it and practiced rescuing a broken vehicle,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas Mendoza, crew chief with the company. “We had Marines from the broken AAV getting on top of it and throwing tow-ropes to another vehicle, so they could hook them up and pull them back to land.”
The next day the Marines performed the final and main event of the weekend, the surf qualification.
“The surf qualification is an exercise that ties into our training and readiness manual,” said Maj. Darrel F. Commander, the inspector instructor with the company. “During the exercise, the Marines will simulate a distress situation in which the all the embark personnel and the crewmen will abandon the AAV in the water and swim to the shore with their life preserver on.”
By the end of the weekend, all of the Marines in the company participated and successfully completed all exercises, improving their efficiency and abilities in their military occupational specialties.
“Exercises like these give the Marines confidence,” said Sgt. Hector Reyesherrera, the recovery chief with Co. C. “Whenever Marines have confidence and know what they are doing, they will always accomplish the mission.”