Camp Pendleton Orientation Field Trip, 4-7 Apr 2011

Fifty-one cadets boarded the bus Monday morning with high expectations of an exciting week at Camp Pendleton. They were not disappointed. The day started with a tour of the Mechanized Museum. We had a quick lunch then watched a PMO Working Dog Demonstration of how dog handlers use their canine partner to effectively deal with hostile suspects, followed by a tour of HMLA-267 at the airfield. Cadets watched a terrific video on the capabilities of the AH-1W Cobra and UH-1Z Huey. The Marines spoiled them with free handouts of t-shirts and aluminum water bottles before taking them on a tour of the aircraft on the flight line.

The next morning we hit the obstacle course, literally. Many cadets had difficulty negotiating the harder obstacles until a Marine Instructor showed them the proper techniques. 5th Marine Regiment opened up their Area Training Center (ATC) and trained cadets on the marksmanship trainer using pneumatic facsimiles of rifles and pistols fired at a projected combat scene on the wall. Cadets had to practice safety procedures and proper loading of the magazines. They received training on a tactical training simulation on rugged laptop computers. Anyone who has played "Call of Duty" or "Halo" is familiar with first person shooting video games so the cadets learned to play the simulation very, very quickly!

The barracks were a little over three miles from the messhall so every morning started with an invigorating three mile hike to breakfast followed by training, lunch, more training, dinner, then a three mile hike back to the barracks. Cadets played sports or relaxed with some leisurely reading before taps at 9:00 pm. The last evening we gathered for an evening of comedy as each squad performed a skit making light of someone or something during the trip. Even one of our chaperons got into the act and poked fun at the Senior Marine Instructor for "sleeping" on the job.

The last morning was spent at the bowling alley to loosen up and relax after a hard, informative, and fun week at Camp Pendleton.