Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- More than 300 Marines from 2nd Marine Division conducted their final day of a Command Post Exercise Oct. 29 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The CPX, which began Oct. 26, was designed to test the division’s ability to set up a Combat Operations Center similar to one that would be used in a deployed environment anywhere in the world, allowing the commander to maintain command and control of his Marines through the Marine Corps’ communications assets.
“We’re simulating austere environments by coming out to the field where we don’t have [consistent] power or fiber connections to a network,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul T. McKeown, 2nd MarDiv Operations Chief. “It’s important because it doesn’t matter where we go or where we’re sent. We need to be prepared to operate in an environment where maybe the commercial architecture is not robust, or due to security concerns we have to establish our own network and pull services from military satellites in order to accomplish the mission.”
Marines from several different military occupational specialties came together to accomplish the mission and exercise their various roles in a COC, including Marines from Marine Air Support Squadron 1 from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.
The mission of the MASS-1 Marines was to simulate de-conflicting airspace, responding to immediate requests and acting as the liaison between those in the air and those on the ground.
Members of the 2nd Marine Division Band were also able to provide security for the CPX, a secondary role for the musicians.
“Most people don’t know that we have deployed in the past as security augments and that’s what we’re doing here,” said Cpl. Matthew Lokkesmoe, a musician from the division band. “We take charge of all the posts here and maintain security by keeping track of everyone who enters and leaves.”
The 2nd Marine Division performs a CPX at least once a quarter and smaller training evolutions in between, according to McKeown. This CPX also prepared the Marines for a MEFEX, a larger exercise scheduled to take place in May 2016.
“I’ve seen a lot of hard work, initiative and dedication to the mission during this CPX,” McKeown said. “It takes a lot of work and planning, and these Marines put in a lot of effort.”