CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- More than 80 Marines with 2nd Civil Affairs Group partnered with civil affairs specialists from II Marine Expeditionary Force for a training exercise June 13-15, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The training gave Marines, both reserve and active duty, the most realistic training available by using a combination of the Infantry Immersion Trainer and Ash Street Forward Operating Base, which housed the Civil Military Operations Center.
“The mission of 2nd Civil Affairs Group is to train and employ Marines who can assess the civil environment and implement civil considerations into operational planning and tactical execution by providing the core tasks to support [Marine Air-Ground Task-Force] operations and security cooperation objectives,” said Capt. Agustin C. Solivan, the training officer-in-charge of 2nd CAG.
Throughout the exercise, the Marines interacted with role players who spoke in French and Arabic, which would require them to use an internal interpreter in order to bring another realistic aspect to the training. The Marines also faced three role players who acted as American news reporters who would update the operations in the notional villages across international news.
“Working with these role players was a new experience in itself. There were so many of them who asked for help and it added a sense of realism,” said Sgt. Matthew A. Pennington, a civil affairs specialist with 2nd CAG. “Also having the three reporters there was frustrating, they would come up and bombard [us] with questions while [we] had to be focused on another task. It was done well.”
Solivan spoke about how his Marines took this unique opportunity to improve their mission readiness and increase their overall proficiency.
Pennington described the training as the most realistic training he had ever been a part of, and the entire unit agreed that they would eagerly participate in more training here at Camp Lejeune.
“This is the best training I have had since I have been with civil affairs,” said Pennington. “It is really awesome being able to integrate with the [II MEF] Marines in this really well thought-out scenario. I’m learning so many things that I would not have thought about before that I am thinking about now, so it has definitely been beneficial all around.”
II MEF aims to be a force of readiness, and encourages all of its Marines to participate in any and all training preparing them for the needs of the Marine Corps.