MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- Marines from Marine Air Control Squadron 1 finished training for convoy security at the Barry M. Goldwater range located approximately seven miles south of the air station Dec. 7.
The training, which was a part of Exercise Desert Talon, began Nov. 22 with approximately 130 MACS-1 Marines. Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 and 374 also participated in the convoy training.
The mission of the convoy security course, which took place at the Goldwater range, was designed to teach tactics, techniques and procedures to properly conduct convoy security in theater, said 1st Lt. Troy M. Peterson, MACS-1 supply officer and convoy first platoon commander, native of Fort Atkinson, Wis.
The convoy training was a refresher for the MACS-1 Marines before they deploy next year and also gave them a chance to learn many new skills involved with convoy security, said Capt. Michael Murray, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 ground combat instructor, who was one of several instructors mentoring the training.
"This exercise is the only time when they have the opportunity to shoot while moving, and it gives them a chance to exercise all the TTPs -- tactics, techniques and procedures -- that are currently being used in a live-fire environment," said Murray, a native of Chester, Va.
Throughout the convoy training, the Marines also practiced moving tactics, countermeasures and how to engage the enemy by fighting around the convoy vehicles, said Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Schmeiser, MACS-1 tactical data systems technician and a native of Walden, N.Y.
One important aspect of the training was to learn how to incorporate air support with convoy operations, said Murray. This is because air support for convoys in Iraq is highly pertinent.
"What we try to do over (in Iraq) is to try to get air to support as many convoys as possible,” said Murray. “The nature of this course is to link air up with the ground guys. This (exercise) puts them in an actual situation where they have to stop, and they have to dismount. It's a worst-case scenario.”
In order to efficiently carry out the training, MACS-1 split up its personnel.
“We were running a convoy each day,” said Peterson. “There were two (platoons) in the company and we (would) go one day on, one day off.”
Taking advantage of the consecutive training, MACS-1 Marines were able to gain knowledge from their mistakes and adjust to the tactics.
"It helps us get prepared for what we'll have to do over in Iraq,” said Pfc. Matthew Eddis, MACS-1 motor transport operator and native of San Diego.
“My favorite part of the training was seeing the Marines learning the techniques and performing as a cohesive unit,” Peterson said.
Eddis said he was pleased with how the exercise ran in a smooth, expedient manner.
“Everything I expected (about the training) actually came true,” Eddis said. “We held together, we executed what we planned and it went smoothly."
For this reason, Eddis said the training was a success.
"I feel prepared because my command gave me the knowledge (and training) for me to perform all my duties to my fullest ability,” Eddis said.