Story by LCpl Jacob Wilson on 03/27/2019Marines with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment conducted Exercise Bougainville I, a three-part pre-deployment training exercise March 5-22, in and around Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Echo, Golf, and Fox Companies rotated through the three phases of training which included various types of small-unit training events in different locations across the island.
The first phase of Bougainville I was a squad-support live-fire training event held on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. At the Ulupa'u Crater, Marines executed some common yet vital infantry drills, such as buddy rushing, obstacle breaching, and live-fire support from a wide array of weapon systems.
The second phase sent Marines into an infantry immersion trainer at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, where they conducted contact drills and squad-level events in a simulated urban environment. At MCTAB, Marines also established a defense in preparation for the raids executed on the urban terrain within the training facility.
The third and final phase took place at Kahuku Training Area, where Marines practiced patrolling, various forms of movement and communication in a remote area. At KTA, the focus was aimed on working effectively in challenging and unfamiliar terrain.
"[KTA] created an environment where squad leaders had to make decisions while they were both mentally and physically exhausted," said 1st Lt. Gabriel Knoll, executive officer, Echo Company. "It's an expansive area covered with very thick, jungle-like terrain. Communication in this type of terrain is more difficult, so it forces leaders to have more deliberate plans."
The harshness of the environment is further emphasized by Cpl. Johnathan Cole, training NCO, Echo Company, "Being able to expose the [Marines] to places like this where you're constantly going up and down in terrain and thick, dense vegetation is absolutely crucial."
The overall goal of Bougainville I is to fine tune the basic infantry skills necessary to accomplish the mission.
"[It is an opportunity to] work on the squad leader and below tactics and unit discipline. In order to operate as a company, we have to first work on the small unit skills," said Echo Co. Gunnery Sgt. Patrick Hause.
The training taking place during Exercise Bougainville I lays the groundwork for future battalion training events. The Bougainville series builds unit cohesion and combat readiness for the upcoming deployment.