Warfighting Lab Lightens Load On Infantry Marines

Warfighting Lab Lightens Load On Infantry Marines

Marines with Company B, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, hold security during a patrol at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Sept. 2, 2015. The patrol was part of an experimental exercise designed to assist the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in capturing useful information in order for them to design a newer, more effective vehicle in the future. Photo by Cpl Joshua Murray.

FORT HUNTER-LIGGETT, Calif. (September 22, 2015) – The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory conducted a three-week experiment to test Internally Transportable Vehicles at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., from Aug. 24- Sept. 14.

The Lab, along with Company B, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, tested Internally Transportable Vehicles during Limited Objective Experiment-1. The tests determined their ability to integrate with the ground combat element and to establish new recommendations for the design of future ITVs. The experiment consisted of four different patrol lanes of various lengths, difficult terrain and complicated scenarios to test the Marines and the ITVs.

Major Robert Stork, the officer in charge Expeditionary Force 21, said this has given the warfighting lab new information and notes in regards to finding a replacement vehicle for the ITV.

"Out here we have an opportunity to change up each lane and focus on a completely different angle of vehicle employment," Stork said. "This has really allowed us to see some of the major advantages and disadvantages of the current ITV so we can make more appropriate recommendations for the vehicle of the future."

As the lanes continuously changed and different scenarios were set upon them, the Company B Marines slowly discovered more effective ways to employ the vehicles and used them to improve their infantry tactics and proficiency.

The Marines used ITVs in a variety of roles including a logistics asset, a casualty evacuation asset and a speed and maneuver asset for 81mm mortar teams, who need the ability to displace quickly and establish support by fire objectives.

Captain Sean Leahy, the commanding officer of Company B, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, said the vehicles, while ineffective as a strike vehicle, worked well as a logistics vehicle took a lot of weight off from the Marines' back.

"The biggest benefit an ITV-style vehicle is going to bring to the infantry community is not in a fighting role or a strike role," Leahy said. "A vehicle like this should be used as a logistics asset that can lighten the load of the individual Marines which in turn makes them more alert and in the long run more combat effective."

Even though the experiment was based on acquiring recommendations for a more appropriate design for future vehicles, Company B also used it as a valuable chance to teach their junior Marines more advanced tactics.

Many of the patrolling skills learned here will be applied again as the Company B Marines advance into a new training iteration in the rugged terrain at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., in the weeks to come. While in Bridgeport, the Marines will train in various courses including mountain survival, assault climbers and animal packing courses designed to improve their combat efficiency and tactical awareness in mountainous terrain.

"Any time we get to go out to the field and stay out here for three weeks and do our job is an excellent opportunity," Leahy said. "It makes us stronger, faster and much more proficient in preparation for Bridgeport and eventually for any future deployments."

Limited objective experiment-1 allowed the Marines with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory to determine the success of ITV integration with the ground combat element, assess the vehicle's capabilities and establish new guidelines for future ITVs to come.

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