Training Exercise 'Desert Talon' ...

After we returned from our Thanksgiving break, much appreciated by the unit, we began our formal training with the Marine Corps. We started with several days of briefings, mostly classified, in preparation for the multi-service training exercise "Desert Talon." Most of the briefings were designed to combat the problems of integrating the Army with the Marine Corps, especially the technical jargon. Most of the Marines started their speeches with a disclaimer: "This arrangement, the Army working for the Marines, has never happened before, at least in our careers, so please be patient as we sort out our differences and get used to working with each other."

The exercise lasted several days which only seemed like a flash in time. We were able to integrate our flying operations and tactics into the Marines' missions, providing the command elements aviation support they requested. Busy working around the clock made time to pass quickly and before we knew it we were sitting among each other evaluating our performances. All of our companies in 2/224th AVN have made incredible progress, getting better and better at our once part time jobs.

We unanimously agree that this plan, bringing us to Yuma to fly with the Marines, was the most beneficial use of our time before deployment. We all were able to learn the Marine Corps' methods in a training environment rather than under the heat of fire in theater. Hopefully our sister units feel the same way.

By Bert Stover |  December 14, 2005; 10:24 AM ET  | Category:  Training with Marines
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I Wanted to tell you how grateful the families were for the CD's you made for us to have an inside view of the training. We love keeping up through your articles-it keeps us all a little better connected so the phone calls can be more focused on the many little personal details! Bless you!

Posted by: | December 27, 2005 12:58 PM

It is really great to see the "jointness" that appears to be taking place in this pairing of Army helos with Marine units. Compared to the Army the Marines are under equipped with helicopters and that can really hurt. Insertions take longer, evacs are slower to come and resupply of fielded units is less robust.

While in Vietnam I remember watching the First Air Cav move to I Corp to augment the Marines. It seemed as if every Army fire team leader had his own helo. That was because the division had some 400 plus helicopters versus 200 something for the entire 2 division plus Marine force. To boot, the Army's were newer and better.
Worst of all, misplaced Marine pride prevented their asking the Army for help. While leading a recon team I once hailed a Passing Army helo and asked them to come and get us and take us home because the Marines did not have the resources available to do it. Nearly ended my career. I am glad to see that silliness is over.

Posted by: Mike | January 3, 2006 10:50 AM

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