Photo Information

A Marine with 3/14 aims in on suspicious activity during his watch into the first night of the final exercise during Mojave Viper Aug. 28.

Photo by Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

3/14 finishes Mojave Viper, prepares mentally for Iraq

27 Aug 2006 | Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

Marines from various active and reserve units across the country joined to supplement Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, as they prepared to deploy to Iraq as Provisional Military Police Battalion, Task Force MP, 3/14.The unit was activated in April and finished their training with the final exercise of Mojave Viper Aug. 30."We have a little bit of everybody," said 1st Lt. Jason Kaiser, executive officer. "It’s a unique situation. We joined together about a month ago, but we’ve come together to go to combat."The unit was largely supplemented with military policemen from 1st Marine Division, MP Company, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, while others came from 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, in Grand Prairie, Texas; and 5th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, in Seal Beach, Calif.As Marines from units across the country were joined to fill 3/14’s ranks, no military occupation specialist was spared – artillery, supply, military policemen – Marines from all walks of life in the Corps were taken into the unit."We’re a mutt company," said Pfc. Philip Lawrence, military policeman, and Birmingham, Ala., native. "We’re all just stuck together, but it works out."Many of the Marines among the unit say they are prepared to go to Iraq, and some of them look forward to the day their boots hit the dirt."The anticipation is killing me," said Lance Cpl. Luis Corro, supply with Battery G, 3/14, and Newark, N.J., native. "At first, I didn’t want to deploy with this unit. I wanted to deploy with my own unit, but we’ve really come together in the last month."While most of the 3/14 anticipates landing in Iraq, not every Marine is excited. Some of them just look forward to the experience and the eventual return home."I want to get ‘r done and get it over with, come home and go back to school," said Willow Grove, Penn., native, Lance Cpl. Michael Berth, from Marine Wing Support Squadron 472 in Elkton, Mass. The sergeants were given the time to train their own Marines first to better prepare them before coming together. With the added training before joining, they became more cohesive as one fighting unit, said Sgt. Adrian Perez, Battery D, 2/14."The Marines need to have a combat mindset before they go to Iraq, always have the mindset," said Perez. "Once you’re there, it’s too late.The military policemen from Camp Pendleton added their own experience to the Mojave Viper training to give the Marines an added bonus and discard misunderstandings about their job before becoming a military police battalion in Iraq.People are often confused about the actual duties of an MP, said Staff Sgt. Melvin Miller, military policeman with MP Company. He described an MP as a "grunt with a badge.""There’s a big misconception about MPs," he said. "We don’t sit around in squad cars. We don’t man gates. We’re field MPs. Everything we’re doing here in the Mojave Viper, we’ll be doing in Iraq."The Marines, most were working civilian jobs or going to school not long ago, evolved over the last couple months of training into a ready fighting force. While missions change, a Marine’s readiness for combat will not. "They’ve come a long way since we got them, said Miller. "In the short amount of time we’ve trained them, they succeeded. They learned to adapt. There’s no doubt in my mind, if the mission changes when we get there, they’ll be able to adapt."
Headquarters Marine Corps