MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Hours before the first rays of light fell upon Camp Lejeune, 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, in combination with 1st platoon, 5th ANGLICO, based out of Okinawa, Japan, stood in gortex and beanies. Fog shrouded the Marines as they assemble into teams, loaded into humvees and headed out for a full day of combat exercises, in what seemed like enough mud to cover every square inch of Camp Lejeune’s sandy soil.
Although this weather could normally halt many outdoor activities in the civilian world, ANGLICO Marines not only spent the entire day training beneath the grey skies, but they also camped through a night of high winds, thunder, torrential rain and lighting. ANGLICO knows that their training is far too important to sacrifice because of some raindrops.
Lance Cpl. Craig E. Jenkins, a Radio Operator for 2nd ANGLICO said, “I love this weather.”
Inside a building at Camp Lejeune’s Combat Town, Jenkins, from New Orleans, La., along with Cpl. Fabio Garcia, were stripping down two 50-caliber machine guns. “We do this to become familiar with all the different parts of the 50-cal, just in case,” stated Garcia, from the Bronx, N.Y., also a Radio Operator for 2nd ANGLICO.
Jenkins and Garcia are part of a four-man team in a scenario-based warfare training exercise. This was their second day of the week-long training, with their headquarters based at Tactical Landing Zone Albatross. They, along with many other Marines in their unit, spent the day at Combat Town working as teams clearing rooms and calling in close air support.
“To me, the most important aspect of clearing rooms is working together and communicating so we do not cross fire and end up with unneeded casualties,” Jenkins said as he reassembled the barrel of the 50-caliber rifle.
ANGLICO Marines have done this type of training before. With a deployment approaching at the end of the month, it is important everyone in ANGLICO know their job and be able to react on instinct to war-type situations, Garcia pointed out. “I learn something every time I train. It should become second nature,” he added.
Sgt. Brian Salisbury, team chief, 2nd ANGLICO, said the training helps prepare young Marines for the types of situations going on in Iraq.
“We focus on how young Marines will act as part of a small team. Right now we have a lot of good team chiefs and team leaders that are able to pass on the knowledge and experiences to the younger guys,” Salisbury said. He went on to mention that Marines must continue to talk and account for each other’s position.
“We have to know where friendly positions are at all times and make sure we communicate. We shout ‘Marine, Marine!’ and let everyone know where we are and that the room is clear. This prevents a lot of mishaps,” he said.
While Salisbury and others from 2nd ANGLICO conquer Combat Town, a team of 5th ANGLICO Marines conducted convoy operations on the mucky dirt roads of TLZ Egret. Marines trained on what to do if an improvised explosive device attacked their convoy. With a team member down and needing first aid, Lance Cpl. Marcus Perez, a scout observer from Miami, Fla., had to give intravenous fluids to his fellow Marine as Lance Cpl. Benjamin Morales provided security with his Squad Automatic Weapon. Morales, from Buffalo, N.Y., is a radio operator with 5th ANGLICO and says he looks forward to his first deployment.
“This training helps save lives. That’s why we do this. We know this is how it’s going to happen if something goes down. I take this training seriously, because I have a little brother who is waiting to see me when I get back,” said Perez.
Six months after returning from Iraq, 5th ANGLICO sent Marines from first platoon to deploy with 2nd ANGLICO and continue ongoing missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
ANGLICO Marines play a significant role in winning the war in Iraq. Not only does ANGLICO clear buildings, patrol streets, call for supporting fire and close air support, they are the only air liaison communication between the Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy, Salisbury said.
Since reestablishment in 2003, ANGLICO has been helping joint and coalition forces repeal and destroy the enemy’s assault.
Familiar with meeting whatever challenges nature may throw their way, ANGLICO is prepared to achieve their mission, no matter what the weather or situation, and doesn’t have to wait for the weatherman to tell them what to expect - they’re bringing their very own lightning from the sky.