MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines and sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit Command Element again focused on ‘brilliance in the basics’ when they headed out to the field at Camp Pendleton for the second iteration of Command Post Exercise, Nov. 28 – Dec 2.
The exercise focused on the unit’s ability to stand up an entire Command Operations Center quickly in the event the MEU is called to shore. Although the exercise included training for this specific event, CPEX II brought the Marines and sailors together by encouraging them to work as a team and build camaraderie among each other.
“We are here to develop muscle memory,” said Sgt. Franklin R. Castillo, the plans chief with the operations section of the 15th MEU’s Command Element. “It’s a possibility that the MEU could be called to shore and would be responsible for setting up a forward presence in a country to conduct military operations,” added the 25-year-old native of Carolina, Puerto Rico.
The five-day evolution built upon what the unit learned at its previous CPEX earlier this summer, however this time the Marines and sailors stayed in the field the entire time, making the COC their main mission.
“In the event we were called to shore, the MEU could be potentially be tasked with anything from humanitarian assistance to mechanized/motorized raids against an enemy,” said Castillo. “We could have a complete set-up of a COC in less than 24 hours in a real world situation, which is what makes these exercises so important.”
In addition to building the command operations center, the unit’s Marines and sailors were given the opportunity to obtain a battle sight zero, or BZO, for either their M4 or M16A4 service rifles. The BZO is an adjustment made to the weapon’s optics that correctly aligns the weapon’s sight to the user.
“Getting out to the field and spending time with Marines, either setting up tents or doing a rifle BZO, was great,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Edward S. Debaun, a religious program specialist with the 15th MEU CE. “It helped break up the monotony of being in the office and brought us all back to our roots,” added the 33-year-old native of Copperopolis, Calif.
The 15th MEU is currently preparing for its upcoming deployment in fall of 2012.