Thousands of Marines made their way to the Twentynine Palms Marine base for two weeks of intense training in the desert. The program coined "Exercise Javelin Thrust" puts Marines into battle scenarios "At some point, in their careers, Marines are going to be put in harm's way," said Commander Andrew Kennedy, the exercise director. "It's imperative that they have the tools that are going to be required to take care of whatever level of the fight they're facing."
The majority of the Marines participating in the exercise are in the reserve. Many of them have never experienced a deployment, so the exercise is crucial to teach them the basics all the way to a full-blown battle situation. "It's something you can easily forget, so it takes a while to knock the rust off, maybe a day or two, but by day three we're cooking with oil," said Sergeant Trent Narra.
While it may take a few repetitions before things run completely smoothly, the teamwork does not skip a beat.
"You know guys from everywhere, they help each other out," said Sergeant Joseph Benson. "We work together even though we've never met each other before, but all have similar practices and similar methods of doing things."
Javelin Thrust features more than 5,000 Marines from 32 states. They take over the 29 Palms Marine base, an ideal location for the size of the emeny.
"It really is hard to replicate anywhere else. It really can't be replicated anywhere else in the continental United States. The facilities we have here at air ground combat center are unmatched."
The enthusiasm to serve their country is also unmatched. "It's a great honor to be able to serve America--to come out here and train and be ready to answer the call," said Corporal Alexander Becker.