11th MEU conducts training operations

23 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Demetrius Morgan 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

For more than 200 years, American society has revered the Marine Corps as one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. Some say it’s because of weapons, tactics or their ability to do more with less. All of which are characteristics Marines take pride in, emphasizing them from the start of recruit training. What most individuals don’t see is the amount of intensity Marines exert during every training event. 

Intensity was evident as Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit executed training operations to simulate combat conditions as part of Realistic Urban Training Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (RUTMEUEX) 14-1 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 18-22.
One of the common sayings among Marines when referencing how to effectively train is, “train like we fight.” This phrase instills in the Marines a combat mindset and lends realism to training scenarios.
During each training event, Marines with Fox Company BLT 2/1 executed tactics to hone their quickness and efficiency. Malicious intent radiated from each squad as they assaulted their targets with intense suppressive fire. Above the blasts of the machine gun fire and concurrent with the Marines expeditious movements, section leaders yelled commands at designated teams. It was as if they were engaging real enemies.  

Cpl. Travis Richardson, a section leader with Fox Company BLT 2/1, understands the importance of training with intensity and how important it is for developing Marines for the real thing. 
“Do you think this is stressful?” yelled Richardson to his squad. “Imagine what it’s like to have guys firing back at you. It’s going to be stressful at all times so you can’t get flustered. You have to come at this like it’s your life on the line.”  
Richardson continued to explain to his squad the importance of intensity; pointing out different ways it can be interpreted by the enemy. He said whether it be fear, anxiousness or hesitation, there would always be a reaction from the enemy for Marines to exploit.  
Richardson’s passion showed throughout every aspect of training. As a result, Marines under his charge showed the same amount of tenacity.

From the outside looking in, Richardson seemed at times harsh and unnecessarily strict towards his Marines, but individuals like Lance Cpl. Adam Pawlowaski, a machine gunner with 2/1, embraced this side of him.  

“Any Marine out here would tell you nothing but good things about him as a leader,” said Pawlowaski.  “When he’s yelling at us to get pumped, be intense and give the enemy something to fear, we take it to heart and work that much harder.”    
The 11th MEU’s pre-deployment training schedule is anything but easy. Intensity is among the many things Marines must exude in order to effectively complete their training and all missions. The MEU will continue to conduct various training events to prepare for the upcoming deployment.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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