U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division participated in Joint Exercise Garnet Rattler at U.S. National Guard Base Gowen Field, Idaho, April 25-May 11, 2022.
Garnet Rattler was a Joint Force training exercise between Marines and Airmen from the 40th Helicopter Squadron, 190th Fighter Squadron and 389th Fighter Squadron. The purpose of the exercise was to train and qualify joint terminal attack controllers in a distributed and realistic training environment, and to conduct MLR experimentation between the regimental fire support coordination center and elements of the 3rd coastal anti-aircraft battalion.
During the exercise, 3rd MLR conducted air and ground fire training while implementing the use of experimental equipment. Training included artillery-based fire direction, airspace control, and long-range communication while integrating with the US Air Force.
“For us, Garnet Rattler is a 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment-like scenario. We’re focusing on incorporating combined arms. Instead of mortars, we’re simulating an NMESIS battery,” said Lt. Col. David Palacio, 3rd MLR Fire Support. Coordinator.
“We don’t just use Marine Aviation; we incorporate the Joint Force with A10s, F15s, Air Force Hueys and Marine F18s. We believe the future fight is a Joint Force fight. Lieutenant-Colonel David Palacio, 3rd MLR Fire Support Coordinator
Garnet Rattler tested the 3rd MLR Marine’s ability to perform tasks typically performed from large combat operations centers. The Marines set out to conduct expeditionary forward base operations with scattered, low-signature locations ranging from 30 to 60 miles. Dispersion between sites replicated the range between Pacific island chains and was allocated for experimentation with long-distance communication equipment.
U.S. National Guard Base Gowen Field, Idaho provided a unique training area for 3rd MLR Marines to test Force Design 2030 communications initiatives. “The MLR employment concept is primarily distributed “said Master Sergeant Miguel Ofray, chief of operations for the 3rd Littoral Anti-Aircraft Battalion. “If you step back and look at the geographic location of Idaho, the distance closely replicates a potential long-scale communications scenario. This location allowed us to experiment and practice communications in a distributed environment. “
The formation closely mirrored the Marine Corps‘ Force Design 2030 goal to manifest into a more lethal and capable fighting force. Marines and airmen operated side by side while refining tactics, techniques and procedures. Garnet Rattler has improved the ability of Marines and their airman counterparts to operate in several areas. The exercise also strengthened the relationship between the artillery and aviation communities, a key element for operating in highly contested environments.
“We are moving away from this exercise with more capable controllers, and we remain true to 3rd MLR’s mandate to experiment and advance emerging Marine Corps capabilities,” Palacio said. “I’m proud of these Marines and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”