Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Christopher Austin (left), a rifleman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and Cpl. Jeffrey Tarpley (right), a scout with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II MEF, check their gear here March 26 before rappelling down a 120 foot tower. Rappelling is one of many techniques taught in the Assault Climbers Course.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Lewis

SOTG drops Marines into training

15 Apr 2008 | Lance Cpl. Brian Lewis

Marines with the Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, trained members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in tackling mountainous terrain here March 26.

The Marines trained in various techniques, such as rappelling and evacuating casualties.

“The goal of this course is to take these Marines and teach them about mobility and casualty evacuation in mountainous terrain,” said Sgt. Thomas Tribou, an instructor for the course. “By the time we are done, these Marines should be able to take a company of Marines and get them over a 300-foot obstacle.”

The course, which spans more than five weeks, is mandatory for a MEU to deploy.

“We have learned so much already,” said Lance Cpl. John Fernandez, a rifleman with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. “We rappelled in boot camp, but it wasn’t as in depth as this. We have a ton of new climbing techniques.”

Rappelling was only a small portion of the entire course. Classes on evacuating wounded were also offered to Marines.

“The Marines are taught about carries and techniques used to get a casualty out of the area,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class James Huey, a corpsman present at the course. “A helicopter cannot always access mountainous terrain.”

The Marines seemed grateful for the training.

“We need to be prepared for anything,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Austin, a rifleman with Company E, 2nd Bn., 6th Marines. “A MEU can take you anywhere, so it helps to be trained in many aspects.”

The instructors realize the significance of the skills taught through the training.

“This course isn’t necessarily skills you will always use,” Tribou said. “But you can sometimes use the skills to make your life a little easier.”

Next, the Marines will travel to the West Coast for the final part of the course. Their climbing skills will be put to the test on the mountains of California.