Reserve marines roll onto beaches

CAMP PENDLETON  — Since World War II, Camp Pendleton’s Red Beach has served as grounds for Marines and sailors to train and prepare for amphibious warfare.
Fourth Assault Amphibian Battalion returned to these sacred beaches to demonstrate the importance of staying true to the Marine Corps amphibious nature.
More than 550 precisely-synchronized watches struck 05:57 as 62 Amphibious Assault Vehicles splashed into the waters of the base’s Red Beach shoreline, July 26.
“It’s not every day we get to do this,” said Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mingledorff, 4th AABn battalion sergeant major. “Since 2003, our Marines have been in and out of deployments, so being back together doing what we love to do and what we train for is such a privilege.”
For the first time in more than a decade, 4th AABn practiced their amphibious assault tactics, explained Mingledorff. Due to the high deployment rates in their unit, the battalion usually conducts annual training in individual companies.
The battalion created a notional scenario of disembarking a ship and ultimately securing two mock-cities. The mission included forcible entry on the shoreline, transporting weapon systems, equipment, cargo and personnel while performing assault scenarios utilizing the Marine Air/Ground Task Force.
“Our goal here is to work on our core competencies,” explained Lt. Col. John Wright, 4th AABn battalion commander. “Our battalion objective is to help restore our forcible entry capability, as well as our expeditionary and amphibious roots.”
Camp Pendleton was chosen for the battalion’s two-week annual training because of the challenging environment. The mountains, beaches and training grounds available create an overall precarious setting to conduct complex operations for the amphibious warriors, he said.
The Marines of 4th AABn spent most of their time on base training as separate companies, but the final exercise was conducted as a whole unit to test their ability to work together as a team.
The 550 reserve Marines may come from different parts of the country, but their ability to adapt and work as a unit is what brings them together.
“We also conduct the same exercises and safety regulations as Marines who are active,” said Mingledorff. “We hold ourselves to the same standards as we do active duty members, that way when we integrate during wartime, the transition is completely seamless.”
As a culminating event and reward for the Marines’ accomplishments during their annual training, the senior enlisted personnel of 4th AABn held a barbecue to bring about a sense of camaraderie.
“I couldn’t be more proud of [these Marines] and their accomplishments,” said Wright. “They did an outstanding job during their two-week performance.”