CAMP LEJEUNE, NC-In a mock forward environment, Marines with 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, tested their readiness for deployment Dec. 8-11 aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“We provide commanders with liaison capability and we plan, coordinate and control terminal fires for joint allied and coalition forces,” said Lt. Col. Christopher D. Roberson, commanding officer of 2nd ANGLICO. “Basically we integrate joint or allied units or coalition forces with Marine forces so we synchronize and work better together.”
Supporting Arms Liaison Team Alpha with 2nd ANGLICO conducted various exercises to test Marines in real-life scenarios that may be faced during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Situations varied from meetings with village elders and ambushed patrols, to sniper attacks and CH-53E Super Stallion troop insertions.
“Generally, the teams do different training support exercises around the world, different small units doing different things,” said Roberson. “What was unique about this training opportunity was that we stopped everything, took the whole company and supported SALT Alpha … Everyone got involved in the training of SALT alpha having role players from other teams play Georgians, Afghans, and enemy forces.”
To prepare Alpha for the security operations they will be responsible for in Afghanistan, Marines were tested on their reaction to different insurgency situations such as counter Improvised Explosive Device patrols and investigating the origins of enemy fire after an attack. Practicing these tasks in a life-like scenario gives the unit confidence that it will also be able to complete the mission when it becomes real during a deployment.
SALT Alpha sets goals for every time they conduct training. This time was a training readiness evaluation to ensure SALT Alpha is ready to go on their up and coming deployment, said Sgt. Anthony Polvinale, radio operator with SALT Alpha, 2nd ANGLICO.
“Personally before this training event, I had never worked in the fire support coordination center before so I didn’t know what to expect going into it,” said Polvinale. “Due to the outstanding captains, we have in the SALT, they were able to teach me the ropes of the FSCC.”
Marines with ANGLICO need a wide set of skills beyond their personal job responsibilities to be successful when operating in a forward position.
“I am absolutely confident that we are ready for deployment. SALT Alpha has a really good, tight team. Everybody is well rounded in their military occupational specialty and everyone as a whole, regardless of their MOS, knows the basics of the other person’s job,” said Polvinale.
“This was a very good chance for them to exhibit their skill sets. They were evaluated on their ability to meet training readiness standards, which they did,” explained Roberson. “There are some areas that can be improved moving forward, but overall they did really well.”
Germany is the next step for SALT Alpha before deployment, where the Marines will conduct a similar training exercise on a larger scale. They will train with their Georgian counterparts to build a common bond between them before they deploy to Afghanistan.