SOTO CANO AIR BASE, HONDURAS --
U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command’s Mobile Training Team conducted a week-long infantry tactics skills course at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, June 12-16.
The training was designed to give Marines with the SPMAGTF’s Logistics Combat Element insight into basic infantry skills such as land navigation, patrolling, combat lifesaving and water rescue techniques.
The nearly 300 Marines of SPMAGTF-SC are operating primarily in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras throughout the duration of their deployment to Central America. Marines may be required to work outside their specific military occupational specialties while working in these countries, so this training was an essential refresher for the LCE.
“A lot of us haven’t gone over these basic skills since we were at Marine Combat Training,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Andrew J. Busse, a combat engineer with the LCE. “We were placed in different scenarios with this course and taught how to react so we will be better prepared to serve as a quick reaction force.”
Part of the preparation is to ensure that both the LCE and the MTT are ready and capable to respond in the event of a natural disaster or humanitarian emergency. This training provided the LCE Marines with the opportunity to strengthen their skills in order to better assist should a catastrophe occur.
“The skills and lessons we went over were designed to engage the Marines in active thinking,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Charles R. Klecker, an infantry tactics instructor with the MTT. “This helps to ensure making sound decisions in certain environments, such as responding to a natural disaster.”
In the event of a natural disaster, the MTT will play a crucial part in supporting the LCE and maintaining the evacuation control center.
“The MTT has the ability to quickly deploy to any region that needs assistance,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Francis A. Nova, an infantry tactics instructor with the MTT. “Our main role as a team will be to provide security and aid to designated personnel affected by the natural disaster.”
Since there is potential for the LCE and the MTT to face some of these situations down the road, understanding how to work coherently and efficiently is essential for the success of the task force.
“Cross training with the MTT allowed us to learn more about what they do,” said Busse. “Being part of an SPMAGTF means that we are in a position to assist quickly in case of a natural disaster. Once requested by the host nation, they rely on us to get the job done, and I believe that is a critical part of our mission.”