MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Combat Service Support Detachment 23 and other units from the Air Station participated in a quarterly field exercise at Fort Stewart, Ga. August 19-23.
Ninety-three Marines and Sailors from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Branch Medical and CSSD-23 spent a week out in the field practicing in several field activities including security patrols, ambush patrols, land navigation, digging in the defense, and live fire.
"The Roughnecks go to the field quarterly in order to maintain capacity and quality of trained Marines in the field," said Maj. Dutch Bertholf, commanding officer CSSD-23.
"These exercises give Marines the ability to function in a security, ambush, parameter, listening post/observation post, work with helicopters, employ individual or crew serve weapons and know to perform the duties of the interior guard," Bertholf said.
"During these exercises we get a good mix of everything in one week," said CWO2 Scott Danjou, CSSD-23 maintenance officer. "A little bit of field training here and a little bit there goes a long way in training the Marines. The quality of training is better then the quantity of training."
The Marines and Sailors also participate in a quarterly field operation, and set up a combat service support area every couple of months in order to work on their own MOS' out in the field.
"Our MOS in the field is 3rd and 4th echelon maintenance," Bertholf said. "During our CSSA exercise we work on motor transports, heavy equipment, utilities, and train the interior guard portion in small arms," he added.
"Each unit has to train in providing local security for its own area in the field," Bertholf said. "My goal is for them to experience this for the first time during an exercise rather than in actual combat."
This exercise was the Roughnecks first FPX with a large group of Marines from different sections.
"It helps having more units," Bertholf said. "Because we have so many Marines, it gives us more opportunity for force on force training, and a better opportunity for sharing knowledge among the troops."
Not only do the officers from CSSD-23 enjoy the training, but the Marines also enjoy having the chance to apply the knowledge they have learned.
"I enjoy leading the junior Marines," said Sgt. Eric Dewald, CSSD-23. "It teaches them what they have to do in our positions and it teaches me how to be a better leader."
"This training gives the Marines a better understanding of what to do in the field," said Lance Cpl. Greg Wortman, CSSD-23. "It gives us more organized training then MCT, and the sergeants are actually a part of the training not just yelling at you."
The Roughnecks seemed to enjoy the learning and the exercises they participated in.
"I enjoy shooting at the range," Wortman said. "I feel the range provides a more realistic situation to what takes place during combat," he added.
"I enjoy the ambushes," Dewald said. "It gives the Marines experience on how to set up an ambush and how to provide security in every direction," he added.
"My favorite operation is the night defense," said Bertholf. "I enjoy watching the Marines perform their duties when they are tired and in a very stressful situation," he added.
Each quarter CSSD-23 tries to do something different with its field exercises. Their next exercise is scheduled for late January or early February. They plan to work on offensive tactics, including squad in attack, helo borne assaults, and working with crew-serve weapons.