Local News

Mar 24, 2014 8:39 PM by Victoria Johnson, KSBY News

Marines train at Central Coast military bases

Extra aircraft flying over the Central Coast and loud booms have caught the attention of people in northern San Luis Obispo County.

More than 2,000 troops from Camp Pendleton in southern California are training at Fort Hunter Liggett and Camp Roberts.

"It is very realistic in a sense that we don't know what our missions are ahead of time. We don't come here knowing the orders in advance," said USMC Captain Ryan Heilmann.

Troops are taking part in war game training and are running through real world scenarios.

"Ordinance wise, we are shooing a lot out here. All of our guns, ammunition, it is all separated into different tents," said Capt. Heilmann.

Training here gives them a chance to train in new territory, facing unfamiliar obstacles just like in real life. Orders are given quickly. "So we work within a small time frame on limited resources and knowledge and we have to expand upon that to frame a mission to meet our commanders' intent in an environment we aren't used to," said Capt. Heilmann.

This type of training takes them out of their comfort zone. "It has been different. It has allowed us to practice navigation skills. We don't know where everything is so we are having to use our maps more and plot grids," said USMC 1st Lt. Ryan Williams.

Ground, logistics and aviation forces practice working together under one command, before their six month deployment somewhere in the west Pacific later this summer.

"Flight wise, the complexity is a big thing. Every time we go out, it is a lot of moving pieces, a lot of marines. It isn't about you anymore. It is about the marines on the ground that is who we are here to support, is the marines on the ground. Not every chance do we get to operate with marines on the ground," said Capt. Heilmann.

Training began on March 15 and will wrap up on March 29. During this time, hunting and fishing on Fort Hunter Liggett is closed.

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