MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- After spending nearly three months aboard the Combat Center training for a deployment to Iraq, 1st Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, began their departure over a two week period beginning March 15.
First Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, is a reserve artillery battalion based in Alameda, Calif., and is reinforced by an active duty artillery battery and a reserve military police company.
The battalion deployed under the auspices of Task Force Military Police, and will conduct detention operations, assist the Iraqi police in operational matters, and conduct other military police missions in Al Anbar province.
Having recently concluded Mojave Viper, the month-long training evolution consisting of range training and military operations in urban terrain, the battalion has made the transition from artillery to military police.
Because they spent an extended period of time at the Combat Center, training and getting acclimated to the desert environment, many members of the battalion are anxious to get to Iraq.
“They are ready to get out of Twentynine Palms and over to Iraq,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ron King, platoon sergeant, 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, and Dayton, Ohio native. “We had a long and hard work-up and they’re ready to get over there and do their job.”
Although this is the first deployment for nearly 80 percent of the battalion, King said, the training they received while aboard the Combat Center was some of the best he’s seen.
“We are very prepared,” said King. “This is my 3rd deployment and this was by far the most extensive training I’ve received. It really benefits the Marines in the long run.”
For junior Marines in the battalion, nothing compares to the experience they gained at Mojave Viper.
“The training here prepared us unlike any other training I’ve ever received,” said Lance Cpl. Greg Dennie, a military policeman with 2nd Platoon, and a 20-year-old Columbia, Ky., native. “Boot Camp and MCT [Marine Combat Training] can’t compare to the training here.”
First Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, is scheduled to be in Iraq for a seven-month deployment.