Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- Camp Lejeune, N.C. – That’s not the sound of thunder you’ve been hearing over the past two weeks; it’s the sound of Exercise Saipan Rain, a II Marine Expeditionary Force exercise giving the MEF a chance to showcase its artillery capabilities.
“The purpose of Saipan Rain is to take our artillery units and our supporting units and facilitate what we would do in an actual combat environment,” said Sgt. Maj. David Bradford, the 2nd Marine Division Sgt. Maj. “We define different types of fire missions and move from gun position to gun position simulating a combat scenario.”
Saipan Rain is an exercise comprised of multiple components of II Marine Expeditionary Force showcasing the MEF’s capabilities. Participants in the exercise include 10th Marine Regiment and various supporting units, including 2nd Transportation Battalion and 8th Engineer Support Battalion, from 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
During this exercise, the participating Marines and sailors conducted wet and dry gap movements to simulate moving across a battlefield, while the battery sections from 10th Marines conducted live fire events and fired on notional enemy positions.
“Saipan Rain is a training event where we [Bridge Co.] construct a floatable bridge to transport Marines across a water way,” said Cpl. Maxine Tarum, a combat engineer with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion.
With multiple real-world issues affecting the way Marines and sailors train, Saipan Rain allowed the MEF’s to showcase its capabilities no matter what obstacle they might need to overcome.
“There are not a lot of highways in some countries. There are always formidable obstacles that we are crossing,” said Bradford. “With the support of the MLG, we are doing river crossing and direct-lay fire missions to simulate 10th Marines running both its firing batteries in different firing missions and counter-battery operations.”
For some of the Marines, this was their first time driving a 7-ton towing a M777 Howitzer onto a raft and moving it across a body of water like they might actually do in a combat scenario.
“With all the different dynamics of moving throughout Camp Lejeune, Saipan Rain offers this learning experience to not only the commanders, but the young Marines out here getting the most realistic training they can.” said Bradford.
Throughout the exercise, II MEF units worked side by side in order to bolster their expeditionary capabilities and rehearse for upcoming exercises such as Sabre Strike 16 in Latvia and a MEF-level field exercise in May at Camp Lejeune.