Marines with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion, drive to a landing zone to participate in an offensive and defensive exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 19, 2016. The M88A2 Hercules has the ability to tow tanks that weight up to 70 tons, making it the first choice to recover tanks from the battlefield.
An M1A1 Abrams battle tank with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion, drives to an objective as a part of a combined arms breaching exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune N.C., July 22, 2016. Elements from a Marine engineer unit worked with 4th Tanks to clear obstacles to make way for the infantry.
Marines with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion, plan a notional attack during a simulated offensive exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 19, 2016. The tank platoon coordinated prior to executing the mission in order to establish communication, logistics and course of action.
Marines with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion, conducted integrated training with elements of 2nd Tank Battalion, at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 22, 2016.
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The reserve Marines spent three days conducting multiple field exercises in order to develop cohesion with the active duty Marines in the event they deploy together.
The exercises ranged from offensive and defensive strategic planning, improvised explosive device patrols, and breaching and clearing obstacles.
“What we’re trying to do is improve our relationship with 2nd tanks,” said Sgt. Kyle Rehder, a tank commander with Fox Company, 4th Tank Battalion. “We’re trying to spin ourselves up, and they’re trying to spin us up to an operational speed to allow us to support their mission should we actually get called up together.”
The first day, Fox Co. planned offensive and defensive tactics under the supervision of 2nd Tanks.
One platoon simulated an attack on the defensive position established by the second tank platoon. The platoons then switched roles later in the day.
On day two, 4th Tanks integrated with infantry Marines, conducting patrols and improvised explosive device detection drills. During the exercise, the tanks provided cover and security for the Marines on the ground while they maneuvered on a dirt road.
“It’s good for (the reserve tankers) to understand what the infantry is looking for, so in the future they know what needs to be done,” said Cpl. Thomas Malloy Jr., a squad leader with 1st platoon, 2/6 Echo Company. “Relationships are pretty important, which is why we are conducting this type of exercise.”
While the tanks provided physical security, patrolling Marines were able to act as a second set of eyes for enhancement of close-range vision of the Tank platoon.
“It worked out very well,” said Malloy. “At the end of the day it’s nerve-wracking to go against Marine Corps tanks and infantry working together, we work well, we get the job done.”
On the last day, 4th tanks preformed a combined arms breaching operation where they plowed through a 20-foot sand berm with the support of engineer Marines.
“Our primary mission is to support the infantry,” Rehder said. “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to come here and sharpen our skills.”
The above release was written by Pvt. Matthew Callahan, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
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