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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit


15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
15th MEU shines bright in Infinite Moonlight 2008

By Cpl Stephen Holt | | August 25, 2008


Marines and Sailors with Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Platoon, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU), recently honed their combat skills in the sands of Jordan during a bilateral training exercise known as “Infinite Moonlight”.

The training focused on a variety of infantry tactics including trench assaults, combined arms attacks and firing while moving with the Light Armored Vehicles’ (LAV) main gun.

Given the desolate training in a remote part of Jordan, the wide open spaces provided the Marines with a chance to focus on doctrinal training.

 “The focus of the training was to get back to the basics of using more traditional type attacks,” said Sgt. Alexander C. Hebert, a Scout Section Leader.

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t going to go on forever and the next enemy might not use the same tactics as the ones we have currently encountered,” added Hebert.

The effort to polish their traditional skills during the training exercises included several simulated trench assaults. This gave the seasoned veterans of LAR platoon the opportunity to pass on first hand knowledge of the close fight in trenches, said Hebert.

“Trenches are still used today and throughout OIF I we encountered a lot of trenches,” said Hebert, who stressed the importance of passing on first hand knowledge to the newer Marines.

In light of recent world events, the Marines in the 15th MEU realize that there is a chance to be called into any type of fight in a moments notice.

 “If you don’t teach the younger guys this stuff you’ll lose the knowledge. You get most of your knowledge from the guys who have been there and passed it down, not from a book,” said Hebert. “There still is a chance to fight a conventional war and most militaries teach their guys how to use trenches as a defense.”

For the LAV crewmen, who are responsible for the 14 ton armored vehicle, the training in Jordan provided an opportunity for Marines to begin to cross train younger Marines with different responsibilities. Marines who were typically drivers moved up to the gunner’s position allowing them to refocus on their gunnery skills. This helped ensure crucial skills are not lost while embarked aboard ship.

“Being an LAV crewman is a perishable skill, especially the use of the gun. You can’t simulate a jam, you actually need to have one to learn from one,” said Sgt. Jesus Cervantes, a LAV Vehicle Commander.

 While in Jordan a three kilometer gun range was created to improve shooting while moving skills. The range had a total of four targets that challenged the communication and teamwork of an LAV crew, said Cervantes, a 34 year-old native of Oxnard, Calif.

As the 15th MEU begins its final stages of deployment, the gunnery range provided a means for training for the future leaders as the unit begins to move the younger Marines into positions with more responsibilities, said Cervantes.