TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Paul Armstrong began his career as a Navy supply officer. He was then commissioned as a Navy Chaplain. He enjoys writing songs and playing instruments and has been d…
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS--Under the cover of darkness, Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers filed from multiple helicopters and began forming a security perimeter on the outskirts of Qaleh-ye Gaz, Afghanistan. The reconnaissance element of the platoon began searching for a patrol base location, while the remaining members established communications with their company.
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 conducted Air Base Ground Defense training during their evolution of the Integrated Training Exercise with the help of a new unmanned ground device, the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System, Feb 6, 2014.
TWENTYNINE PALM, Calif. - Music played as Marines danced with their daughters during the 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion’s Princess of the Castle event Feb. 7, 2014, at the Officers’ Club. The event featured tables for families to eat, a full assortment of snack and entrees for dinner, and a dance floor for the fathers and daughters to dance the night away.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - For the last three years, Condor Elementary School has invited families from the community to participate in the school’s Science Night. Signs directed families to the different sections of the school where exploding milk, conductors of electricity, a solid that can turn into a liquid and more than 100 other projects were presented for families and fellow students to see.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Friends and families gathered to say goodbye to Sgt. Maj. Insu Paek as he retired after 30 years of honorable service during a dual Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School Relief and Appointment Ceremony and Retirement Ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, Feb. 12, 2014.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Before there were benefits for service members and their families, an avenue to help Marines and sailors struggling financially became necessary. The United States, still in its embryonic phase, couldn’t afford to provide a benefits package for its service members. In 1904, several naval officers, wives of naval officers, and civilian friends saw the need for more formal and organized assistance, according to the official Navy Marine Corps Relief Society website.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Charles Hardesty’s K9 training revolves around the behavior of the animal. He teaches his Marines and civilian dog handlers to pay attention to how working dogs react to situations and environments.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Over the years, science fiction movies have depicted robotic sentinels as enforcers of the law. These feats of technology were equipped with machine guns, could see a wide spectrum of light through their bionic eyes and could report their findings to their handlers instantly.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Congress made the biggest changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in the past decade, Dec. 26, 2013, under the National Defense Authorization Act. These changes are scheduled to be implemented in throughout 2014 and the Marine Corps will begin to see some of the major changes that were made to Articles 32, 60, 120 and 125 in the coming months. The Marine Corps is governed by the UCMJ, which is reviewed and modified by Congress every year under the NDAA. While some of the changes made to the UCMJ in December came into effect immediately. Others, such as the listed articles, are set to take effect 120 to 180 days after the date it was approved by President Barack Obama. Upon implementation of these modifications, questions may arise. What are these changes and how will they affect the average Marine in a court case? To find that out, it is best to talk to someone with proper education and experience in military law. Marine Corps judge advocates undergo additional schooling at the Naval Justice School after passing their bar exams to adjust themselves to serve as lawyers in the Marine Corps. They understand both civil and military law, making them the best qualified representation in a military court case. The changes being made to the articles largely influence cases of sexual assault, according to Maj. Nathan Bastar, deputy Staff Judge Advocate, office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Combat Center. “Procedural wise, this is the most they’ve changed it in a while,” Bastar said. The changes affect the rights of victims of sexual assault in court, the rights of convening authorities, sentencing and the investigations leading to trial. Article 32 relates to a preliminary investigation to determine reasonable grounds to go forward in a General Court-Martial. Rules of evidence do not apply and in some cases this is the first time that the victim would testify in court. It is the constitutional right of the accused to face the witnesses against them and this is where the first change to the article comes into play. “At the hearing, the accused had the right to have the victim who was accusing him of the sexual assault present and to be cross-examined by his defense attorney,” Bastar said. “Now they have taken that away. They have granted the victim the right to refuse to testify at an Article 32 hearing.” This does not violate the alleged assailant’s constitutional rights because an Article 32 is a preliminary hearing and not officially a trial determining guilt, only evidence to move forward. This change significantly reduces the defense’s ability to cross-examine witnesses during an investigation and prepare for a possible trial. If the investigation moves on to a court-martial, the victim can then be called for cross-examination. These hearings, prior to the court-martial, are investigated by a commissioned officer. Before the changes made to Article 32, it was not a requirement for these officers to have any legal training. Any officer, such as a commanding officer or battalion executive officer, could have served as an investigator. The new changes now require the investigating officer to be judge advocates. The Combat Center has more than 20 judge advocates, approximately half of which are eligible to serve in an Article 32 under its new terms. “There are other qualifications to be an Article 32 [investigating officer] that are Marine Corps-specific,” Bastar said. “In the Marine Corps, you must be a JA, O-4 or above, or had to have tried a sexual assault case, either as a prosecutor or defense attorney.” In the rare occasion that there are not enough judge advocates at the Combat Center to adequately cover the number of Article 32 investigations pertaining to sexual assault, judge advocates from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., can be brought here for the investigation. “A lot of the driving factors in these changes is sexual assault,” Bastar said. “They’re trying to increase the victim’s rights and limit the rights of a commanding officer to not go forward on sexual assault cases.” Article 60 involves the sentencing of the accused and rights of convening authorities. The changes under Article 60 have put new limits on what a convening authority can do after a sentence has been issued, especially when it has to do with sexual assault cases. It was within the right of the convening authority, commanding officers for Special Courts-Martial and commanding generals for General Courts-martial, to provide clemency for the accused, by approving or disapproving a sentence. “They’ve been trying to take [the clemency right] away for some time now,” Bastar said. Article 60 no longer allows the convening authorities to dismiss a sentencing after the accused has been found guilty. These limitations extend to pre-trial agreements made to reduce sentences before the accused can be found guilty. “In civilian court, it’s a deal between you and the prosecutor that says, ‘Hey, if you plead guilty to this, we’ll support [a certain] sentence,’” Bastar said. “It’s basically a contract between the accused and the convening authority. So say the agreement is to only approve two years [in prison] and the sentence comes back for five years in prison, based on the agreement with the [convening authority], only two years will be served.” The limitations on pre-trial agreements will prevent the convening authorities ability to reduce any sentence. Articles 120 and 125 have simple but impactful changes to laws regarding sexual assault. The former, which had a five-year statute of limitations for all sexual assaults, has been lifted, allowing the conviction of Marines within any time period. “So if on Jan. 20, 2009, somebody sexually assaulted somebody, then today that statute of limitation would have run and you would not have been able to prosecute them,” Bastar said. “But now, it eliminates that.” Article 125, consensual sodomy, was a crime under the UCMJ. This is a correction in the UCMJ because of a Supreme Court decision of Lawrence vs Texas in 2003, which declared that prosecuting consensual sodomy was unconstitutional. “It infringes on someone’s privacy rights,” Bastar said. “That was a Supreme Court decision but it has been around the military for quite a while.” The changes to the articles on Dec. 23 have also made it a requirement to hold General Courts-Martial for certain sexual offenses and mandates a dishonorable discharge if convicted of certain sexual assault offenses. All changes of the listed articles are scheduled to go into effect this year, but are subject to change. Any questions regarding these changes can be directed to the Victim Legal Counsel.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Tobacco products are used on a daily basis by people of all walks of life. Whether it’s lining gums with chewing tobacco or lighting a cigarette and taking a puff, tobacco use and its effects are important to understand.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Stations with chemical experiments and science projects filled the room as children gazed in wonder. Their eyes lit up as they participated in the process of completing circuits, watched chemical reactions occur, and looked at stations display the laws of physics.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Archbishop Timothy Brogio, Archbishop of Military Services, held Mass at the Combat Center Catholic Chapel as part of his international tour of bases and installations around the world, Jan. 26, 2014.
BANNING, Calif. - The battle that took place from 1939 to 1945 for world freedom has been referred to as America’s war, but while American troops fought the horror of World War II, the Montford Point Marines fought a second battle; for equality, according to Coral Theill, reporter and author.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 is leading Marine Aircraft Group 13 in new training programs designed to protect expeditionary airfields during the Integrated Training Exercise.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Jim Bagley is a native of Twentynine Palms, Calif. His family has been part of the community for three generations and Bagley has served as Mayor of Twentynine Palms three times.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Service members and their families kicked off their long weekend by attending the Climbing Wall Family Night at the West Gym, Jan. 17, 2014. The Family Night is hosted by Marine Corps Community Services and gives families aboard the Combat Center a chance to spend an evening away from home.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Combat Center patrons can look forward to the changes coming to the base in 2014. Last year, the Combat Center began many projects such as the reconstruction of Adobe Road and the remodeling of Felix field. The repaving of roads on and around base and the construction of new bachelors’ enlisted quarters for Marines and sailors, show promise of even more exciting things to come.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Military working dogs are trained to do many things. They can locate drugs and explosive components. They can be a part of search-and-rescue teams and react to save its handler’s life.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines with 1st Tank Battalion were recognized for their heroism, sacrifice and dedication to duty with two Navy and Marine Corps Medals, a Bronze Star with combat-distinguishing device and a Purple Heart Medal at the unit’s tank ramp, Jan. 21, 2014.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Combat Center Commanding General’s Welcome Aboard Brief was hosted by Marine Corps Community Services at the base theater, Jan. 15, 2014. The brief informed Marines who are new to the base of its history and available activities, facilities and programs that they can benefit from while stationed here.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 7 said their goodbyes to loved ones before departing Del Valle Field for their deployment to Afghanistan Jan. 9, 2014. Families waved as CLB-7 conducted a final weapons count before boarding the buses and heading off.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines with Combat Logistics Company 13, 1st Marine Logistics Group, spent the day laughing and playing with students during their physical education classes at Joshua Tree Elementary School, Jan. 8.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Maj. Gen. David H. Berger, Combat Center Commanding General, alongside members of the Resident Office in Charge of Construction and T.B. Penick & Sons Inc., broke ground at the site of the Combat Center’s new Child Development Center, Monday.
Behind the Marines and sailors who serve aboard the Combat Center are the families who support them. They are an integral part of the Combat Center community and play a significant role in the success of our mission.Families are celebrated at the Combat Center. They participate in unit events,are educated on the opportunities the base has to offer,and are invited to step into the boots of their Marines during functions such as Jane Wayne Day.The Combat Center makes it a point to ensure they are recognized and appreciated.
The Combat Center works diligently to support local events and organizations as an active proponent of the Morongo Basin.Throughout 2013,approximately5,000 Combat Center Marines participated in more than 300 community events.The partnerships and relationships developed through these events provide the Combat Center with the ability to give back to the community,which supports the installation and the mission of its service members.Throughout the year,the Combat Center coordinated various visits,community relations events,on and off base,including Adopt-a-School,job shadowing,Gifted and Talented Education site visits,Red Ribbon Week,Read Across America Week,Earth Day clean-ups,community partnerships with the local chambers and school district,television appearances,parades,static displays,guest speakers,K-9 demonstrations and color guards.
Foreign militaries from around the world come to train withMarines in various combat scenarios aboard the Combat Center.This year,the Combat Center invited international units such as the Australian Army’s 1st Armored Regiment,the UnitedKingdom’s 40 Commando Royal Marines and Dutch Marines of 22 Company, Korps Mariniers with the Royal Netherlands Navy,to not only take part in combined arms exercises,but also conduct evaluations.Units involved worked hand-in-hand to learn from each other throughout these combat exercises and evaluations.The Combat Center contains the largest training area in the Marine Corps and serves as a valuable tool to sharpen the skills of service members throughout the U.S.military and international units invited for training.The Combat Center continues to offer pre-deployment and sustainment training to military units,both foreign and domestic.With premier resources and training areas at their disposal,the Combat Center personnel will continue to prepare Marines and allies for battles yet to come.
As the Marine Corps’ premier training facility,the Combat Center,provides a realistic training environment for units throughout the Marine Corps.Its mountainous terrain and drastic temperature changes give units a snapshot of environments found in the Middle East and other areas around the world.The size,facilities,and services offered at the Combat Center’s training areas allow units to conduct combined-arms training,urban operations and evaluation of tactics to promote readiness of operational forces.The Combat Center’s vast training area allow Marines to conduct exercises that will sharpen their skills.These include artillery shoots,platoon-sized operations,simulated air assaults,convoy operations,and bilateral training alongside units from various nations.The Combat Center is the only base of its kind in the Marine Corps and will continue to provide Marines with the necessary assets to keep the Corps a step ahead the rest.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Marine Corps has greatly changed since its birth in 1775. This past year has further contributed to its evolution. Leaders toured bases across the Corps, addressing Marines face-to-face, female Marines faced the challenges of new physical fitness standards and were afforded new military occupational specialty opportunities. Combat readiness was revolutionized with the implementation of the Integrated Training Exercise aboard the Combat Center. Every year, the Corps reflects upon its successes and areas of opportunity in order to maintain its status as America’s elite fighting force. In 2013, the Corps attained many historic milestones. Not only have our uniforms and standards improved but new avenues have been made for every Marine to pursue.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marines 1st Tank Battalion, Combat Center, joined members of the community in a golf tournament to raise money for the Toys for Tots program at the Roadrunner Dunes Golf Course Dec. 7.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Approximately 40 Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets from Desert Hot Springs High School, visited the Combat Center to gain additional knowledge in military training Dec. 18, 2013. The purpose of the program is to instill in students the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. During their visit to the Combat Center, the cadets were given a period of instruction on different weapon systems and were given the opportunity to apply marksmanship skills at the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer (ISMT). After firing, the cadets ate at the Phelps Mess Hall and then went to the Combat Center Marine Corps Exchange, furthering their opportunity to experience how Marines live on a daily basis. “We appreciate the opportunity to be able to come out here and see more into how the Marines do things on a day-to-day basis,” said Alexander Camacho, cadet, MCJROTC, Desert Hot Springs High School. “The cadets getting this training get a boost in choosing their future career paths. I personally want to become a pilot, and am deciding between the Marine Corps and the Army. Experiences like this greatly help in making that decision.” With the MCJROTC being a school program, it was difficult for them to get a lot of hands-on weapons training, according to Carl Lewke, senior Marine instructor, MCJROTC program. “Marksmanship training is an important aspect of our program,” Lewke said. “For the cadets who plan on joining the service, they are going to need to learn the fundamentals. It is a great thing for us to be invited to the Combat Center to allow the cadets a chance to get that training.” While it was good training for the cadets, it was also a great experience for the Marines instructing them, according to Capt. Benjamin Rapach, combat engineer officer, Headquarters Battalion. “It was great to have the chance to work with them and see them go through the ISMT training,” Rapach said. “These kids are potentially the future of our military.”
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Combat Center Marine and civilian chefs fired up their grills and competed in a Chef of the Quarter Competition at Phelps Mess Hall Dec. 18, 2013. The chefs were tested in three different aspects of culinary arts. “This competition gives these chefs a chance to prove that food is more than fuel for the body,” said Maj. Eric Dominijanni, competition judge. “It is an art, but these chefs have to prove they know their stuff.” The competition started with four teams. The first day of the competition, the chefs participated in a test focusing on basic culinary knowledge such as temperatures and cooking styles. After the test, the chefs competed in a jeopardy-style competition, which also tested them on basic culinary information. The top three teams earned a chance to compete in a cooking portion that was timed and monitored. “We had four hours to cook our dishes,” said Lance Cpl. Ernesto Hernandez, blue team. “Everything seemed so fast. People were running around like crazy to try and get their plates done.” All chefs were given the same ingredients to choose from and were instructed to make an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The dishes were judged on multiple factors including taste, presentation and an explanation of how it was prepared and how the ingredients were utilized. “It was tough, but nice to have freedom and be able to cook what you want and how you want,” said Cpl. Eric Dibble, blue team. “This competition gives us a chance to get away from being restricted to a menu and I am proud to say we came out on top.” The winners of the chef of the quarter competition were Cpl. Eric Dibble and Lance Cpl. Ernesto Hernandez. “This competition is good for all of Marine Corps food services,” Dibble said. “We are not just combat cooks that mass-cook everything. We are good at what we do and we prove it in these competitions.”
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - In the early hours of the day, a swimmer prepares to fulfill a goal. Unfortunately, his teammates are not with him, but he doesn’t hesitate to start anyway. There is little time for toe-dipping or getting a comfortable feel of the water by splashing it on the face. The chilly, 43-degree weather may attempt to intimidate him, but a much hotter fire inside ignites a semper faithful immersion into the water.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Approximately 41 Marines with 1st Tank Battalion and the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School met with Vintage Country Club members during the Vintage Country Club’s Annual Holiday Party in Indian Wells, Calif., Saturday.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - “All vehicles halt,” said the convoy commander over the radio. “Be advised, Vic 3 has taken indirect fire. Confirmed chemical weapons have been used.” Immediately, Pfc. Justin Orovsky dismounted from the Humvee and signaled for the other Marines to don their gas masks. Two Marines dismounted from the lead vehicle to provide security while the turret gunner kept his machine gun on a swivel.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - As service members move all over the United States and throughout the world, finding medical care for their pets has proven to be challenging and a very important issue. Pets are often become companions to their owners and a cherished part of the family. This makes finding a reliable veterinary care clinic an important mission among service members. The Combat Center Veterinary Treatment Facility is open to schedule appointments for pets of service members and families. The facility has recently hired new technicians and a veterinarian to be able to provide treatments for more patients such as vaccinations and emergency response. The larger staff allows for more versatility in the facility and gives service members on base more opportunities to receive care for their pets. “Having civilian workers opens up our appointment schedule for patients,” Capt. Erin C. Stough, officer in charge, Combat Center Veterinary Treatment Facility. “We’ve been able to schedule about three-times the amount of appointments with the new staff on board.” The Combat Center facility allows for a discounted price for the care of animals and medicine that may be needed. “The cost of veterinary treatment can be expensive,” said Veronica Getty, veterinarian, Combat Center Veterinary Treatment Facility. “There are expenses that many clinics off base must pay for that the Combat Center facility doesn’t have to pay.” The clinic prepares service members for future care of pets at their new duty stations by streamlining the experience of going to the pet clinic with consistent filing of the pet’s health and prior health history. The file stays with the family of the animal wherever the owner may transition to next. “Being more available and open for appointments for the pet owners on base puts their minds at ease,” Stough said. “It gives them a place where they know they can find care for their companions.” The facility is open from Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 to 4:00. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, you can contact the facility at 760-830-6896.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Col. Jay M. Bargeron, commanding officer, 7th Marine Regiment, presented Sgt. Christopher Travis, intelligence targeting chief, Headquarters Company, 7th Marine Regiment, and a native of Myrtle Beach, S.C. with a Purple Heart medal at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field Nov. 27, 2013. Travis earned the medal for injuries sustained while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. “It is an honor to receive this significant award,” Travis said. “It is an award not many Marines want because of what has to happen to receive it, but it truly is an honor to wear this.” The Purple Heart medal is one of the noblest medals awarded today. The medal is earned by service members or civilian nationals of the United States who are severely wounded or killed while under the authority of one of the United States Armed Services. Travis suffered from a traumatic brain injury and loss of memory after being hit by an improvised explosive device. “I can’t remember much after the explosion,” Travis said. “I remember taking fire after we got hit but after that it is a blur.” Travis and the Marines with him were engaged in a fire fight until their unit’s quick reaction force arrived to provide support. “I am very proud to say one of my Marines received this award,” Bargeron said. “Now we get back to training and prepare for the next time we are called into action.” Travis plans on continuing his career by transferring to Marine Aircraft Group 26.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Pfc. Fred Glass savored every morsel of the traditional Thanksgiving meal he and more than 100 fellow Marine Corps Communication-Electronics students from the Combat Center were treated to Nov. 28, 2013 at Roughley Manor Bed and Breakfast.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Marathons began as races of various long distances. Today, they are 26.2 mile races through a variety of different terrains. The London, Boston, and Paris marathon are some of the most well-known races around the world and all are challenging in different ways. Marathon runners are typically in good shape but they must prepare for each race. Everyone has to start somewhere and it does not take an Olympian to run these races. There are various ways to prepare for a marathon including physical preparation, diet, and gear.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Members of the Combat Center’s Geospatial Information and Services hosted the first GIS Day at Palm Vista Elementary School Nov. 20. Fourth through sixth-grade students were given the opportunity to use map-making equipment.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Officer Spouses Club’s sub-club, The Sweating Bullets, conducted a three-mile walk on the physical fitness test track as a fitness event Nov. 21. The Sweating Bullets is one of many sub-clubs that the Officer Spouses Club offers to its participants. “Events are open to anyone in the group seeking fitness events,” said Deana Storer, spouse of Lt. Col. Ronald D. Storer. “We’re getting together, getting to know each other, getting in shape and having fun.” Clubs like this one give spouses an opportunity to network through group activities while promoting a healthy lifestyle. “We’re really trying to start up the club again,” Storer said. “It was active almost a year ago but it just stopped happening all of a sudden. It’s great to see the club open again, giving spouses events like this one to promote good exercise habits.” Storer hopes the club gets more active members to participate in events like this one. The club holds monthly events and is always looking for innovative events to make fitness fun for its members. “It’s always a different location and a different time,” Storer said. “We’re always open to new ideas for events from the spouses that participate and we’re looking forward to the future.”
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Lt. Col. Jeff Kenney, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, and Sgt. Maj. Michael Miller, battalion sergeant major, 3/4, presented the Purple Heart medal to two ‘Darkside’ Marines at the unit’s command operation center Nov. 22.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program invited children aboard the Combat Center to learn more about Marine life during a mock combined-arms exercise at Felix Field Tuesday.
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Service members and civilians aboard the Combat Center got a look at cutting-edge, next-generation products developed by various companies during a technology exposition held at the Officers’ Club Nov. 19, 2013.