A Multi-Component Force comprised of Marine Corps Aviation personnel, Army National Guard Field Artillery Soldiers and Observer Coach/Trainers from First Army Division East worked together to conduct a 2-Gun Artillery raid training. The Marines from USMC HMH-772 CH-53 Squadron from JBMDL, worked with Soldiers of A Battery 3nd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery from the New Jersey Army National Guard, and OC/Ts from First Army Division East to pull off a first of its kind mission for JBMDL.
"This is the first time our unit has had the opportunity to do this kind of training. To be able to conduct this training with support from the Marines and in this environment made this event great training for the Soldiers and the unit," said Cpt. Thomas Weaver, Commander of A Btry 3-112th FA
The units are accustomed to conducting sling load training and do it frequently, but with a joint effort, there were some differences within the units that caused everyone to rely on the expertise of their counterparts to accomplish the mission.
"There was some equipment the Army uses that the Marines were not familiar with," stated Lt. Col. Kevin Johnston from 2nd Battalion, 315th Field Artillery Regiment. "This generated some discussion before coming to an agreement on how to move forward. That small piece of training was immeasurably valuable as we find ourselves more and more in joint environments."
Johnston said that having to collaborate on finding ways to overcome these obstacles allowed both units to see each other work and how they came together to accomplish a common goal.
"Joint Forces are able to come together and accomplish the mission and this is not unlike my last tour in Afghanistan" stated Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Erazo-Cordova, O-C/T Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the mission.
All units involved, conducted over four weeks of extensive planning, preparation and training to ensure they were able to execute this mission safely.
"The close coordination between Cpt. Weaver (CDR A 3-112th FA) and Maj. Joshua Cormier (Executive Officer HMH-772) was key to this mission," said Col. John Lange, Commander of the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade, JBMDL. "These two leaders came together, and in a very short time planned and executed a very complex operation."
Johnston feels this was a unique training opportunity that was enabled by the abilities and assets that only this Joint Base can provide. All three units were able to learn and develop their Soldiers and Marines to operate more effectively and efficiently in their formations when linking with sister services, Johnston said.
"2-315 FA and HMH-772 look forward to additional opportunities to partner and provide tough, realistic training for a Reserve Component unit that may be tasked with support to a future Joint Unified Land Operation for a Combatant Commander," Johnston said.
In 2009, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was established. As the only tri-service Joint Base of the 12 Joint Bases in the Armed Forces, JBMDL's 80 mission partners and 40 mission commanders create unique training opportunities not often seen in the US Military.