BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment continue their final field exercise by defending the “Dog Bone,” during Mountain Exercise 2014 at Marine Corps Warfare Training Center here, Sept. 9, 2014.
Marines with 3/1 will become the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s ground combat element in October. Mountain Exercise 2014 develops critical skills the battalion will need during deployment.
“My Marines accomplished the mission,” said 1st Lt. John O’Donoghue, a platoon commander with Lima Company, 3/1. “They did very well and we learned a lot of new things. Now our focus is on defending what we worked so hard to get.”
After a hard fought, up-hill battle that showcased their deadly precision and strong leadership, Lima Company set in their defensive positions and was ready to take on any opposition.
Sergeant Joshua Germond,the acting platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Lima Company gathered his squad leaders and stressed the importance of their mission.
“We have Marine lives depending on us to provide them with safe passage to their mission; we will not fail them,” said Germond, 24, from Knappa, Ore.
With all vulnerable avenues of approach covered by Lima Company, the “Dog Bone” was secured. Testing Lima’s defense, the opposition would periodically take shots on Lima Company’s position and guage the response of the Marines.
“They’re definitely trying to lure us out there,” Germond said. “But we’re not falling for it. Our job is the ‘Dog Bone’ and we’re not going to put ourselves in a position to lose it.”
Three days into the exercise, the elements and lack of sleep took a toll on the Marines. Simply staying awake was a challenge every Marine faced.
“Most of my [Marines] have only slept about seven hours in the past three days,” said Cpl. Jose W. Delgado, a squad leader with 1st Platoon, Lima Company. “They’re tired and cold most of the time, but it’s good for them. For a lot of them this is a new experience. So far they’ve held up well and haven’t let me down.”
In addition to being in the defense, Marines periodically conducted water resupply runs to a river below. The river runs dangerously close to the opposition’s camp, and if not carried out tactically, could have pinned the Marines in a deadly position.
“Because of our location we’re relying on the river as our only water source,” said Delgado, 21, from Shirley, N.Y. “If we don’t plan the right route, we’ll compromise our position and find ourselves up against a camp full of people after us.”
After several days of battling the exhaustion, elements and the opposition, Marines with Lima Company had successfully carried out their mission; they held the “Dog Bone.”
Their success allowed India Company to move unchallenged and complete their objective.
“It’s important for [the Marines] to understand how critical their role is in all this,” said O’Donoghue, 25, from Frederick, Md. “They had a good understanding of the big picture, and walked away from this exercise more tactically and technically proficient.”