U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division took part in the joint exercises Garnet Rattler at U.S. National Guard Base Gowen Field, Idaho, from April 25 through May 11, 2022.

Garnet Rattler was a Joint Force training exercise conducted by Marines together with Airmen and Marines from 40th Helicopter Squadron, 190th Fighter Squadron and the 389th Fighter Squadron. The objective for the training was to prepare and test Joint Terminal Attack Controllers in real-world, distributed training environment, as well as conduct MLR testing in the Regiment’s support for fire coordination center as well as elements of the 3rd Littoral Anti-Air Battalion.

In the course of the exercise, 3rd MLR conducted air and ground-based fire training, while also utilizing the use of equipment that was experimental. The fire training was based on artillery guidance, controlling airspace and long-range communications, all while working into the U.S. Air Force.

“For our purposes, Garnet Rattler is a 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment type of scenario. We’re trying to incorporate combined arms. In lieu of mortars we’re simulated the NMESIS battery,” said Lt. Col. David Palacio, 3rd MLR Fire Support Coordinator.

“We’re not only using Marine Aviation; we’re incorporating the Joint Force with A10s, F15s, Air Force Hueys, and Marine F18s. We believe that the next fight will be one that is a Joint Force fight.”

Lt. Col. David Palacio, 3rd MLR Fire Support Coordinator

Garnet Rattler was a test of his 3rd MLR Marine’s capability to carry out tasks normally carried from large combat operation centers. The Marines were assigned to conduct Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations with dispersed and low signature sites between 30 and 60 miles. The dispersion of the locations mimicked the variation between islands in the Pacific and was allocated for the development of long-haul communication equipment.

U.S. National Guard base Gowen Field, Idaho, was a training facility that was unique to members of the 3rd MLR Marines to test Force Design 2030 communication initiatives. “The MLR’s notion of work is predominantly spread out,” said Master Sgt. Miguel Ofray, 3rd Littoral Anti-Air Battalion Operations Chief. “If you step back and examine the geographic position of Idaho and the distance, it closely corresponds to a possible long-range communication scenario. The location of Idaho allowed us to test and experiment with communication in a distributed system.”

The course closely reflected Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 purpose of developing its capabilities into a more deadly and effective combat force. In the training, Marines and Airmen worked side-by-side as they refined tactics, strategies and methods. Garnet Rattler boosted the Marines as well as the Airmen counterparts’ capacity to function across different areas. It also strengthened the relationships between aviation and artillery communities, which is a crucial component to operating in highly competitive situations.

“We’re leaving this exercise with better controllers, and we’re staying the 3rd MLR directive to test and advance the emerging Marine Corps capabilities,” Palacio said. “I’m happy with the Marines and what they achieved..”