By Lt. j.g. David Wardlow, NMCB 4
Ens. Brian Douglas, NMCB 4, briefs students on his company defense plan with a terrain model during an annual Tactical Unit Leadership Course (TULC) held on Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 22. Photo courtesy of NMCB 4
In preparation for the upcoming deployment to Pacific Command, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 sent its chief petty officers, junior officers and a few select first class petty officers from Port Hueneme to Camp Pendleton and Point Mugu, Calif., as participants in the annual Tactical Unit Leadership Course (TULC).
Spanning two weeks, the training covered numerous topics including the creation of operation orders, terrain model briefing, fire plan preparation and land navigation.
The first week consisted of classroom instruction in Port Hueneme before traveling to Camp Pendleton for a practical application of the covered topics. For many of the junior officers it was their first opportunity for hands-on experience in terrain model creation and briefing defense plans.
“Coming from the Air Force we have little exposure to tactical planning and execution as civil engineering officers,” said Capt. Sarah Ziaja, NMCB 4’s Air Force exchange officer. “So it was very insightful and informative to learn how to plan in a tactical environment.”
After their tenure at Camp Pendleton, the students engaged in a simulated convoy operation at Point Mugu.
Donning Kevlar helmets and vests, students jumped into High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees, situated in training rooms that projected a three-dimensional replication of a Middle Eastern desert. Students used simulated M-16 rifles and simulated mounted machine guns to engage hostiles while avoiding IEDs on the way to checkpoints.
“Giving a convoy brief and being a convoy commander even for a simulated convoy was something I didn’t expect to happen for me with this training,” said Ens. Matt Carmody. “I feel like I gained a lot of good experiences from it, and luckily I had a lot of good enlisted personnel and officers giving me advice which allowed the convoy to run very smoothly in my opinion.”
Overseeing the course of the training, TULC Officer-in-Charge Lt. j.g. Caroline Mastrangelo experienced positive reaction to the exercise.
“The simulator provided the students with an excellent opportunity to execute their convoy orders in a real-time convoy,” said Mastrangelo.