criticisms. Complaints came from fans of the wildly
popular “King of the Hammers” off-road rock-crawling
event held in Johnson Valley at what now is part of the
“shared” area. That annual event, the largest in the
United States, also will use part of the now-permanent
base land under an agreement, Ricker said.
MCAGCC officials say the “Hammers,” usually held
in late winter, will continue unimpeded. Military use
of the shared area will be announced 12 months in
advance to help the Bureau of Land Management manage public access and use of the land when it would be
closed to the public.
The Marine Corps and Bureau of Land Management
share in managing that land, so members of the joint
Resource Management Group are working on use agreements, public outreach and information and measures to
manage, maintain and secure the property year-round.
“That’s where we are working out all of those details,”
said Ricker, a group member.
Land surveys continue, with about 70 percent com-
pleted, he said. The desert land is crisscrossed by trails
and unmaintained roads. Crews have been marking
base boundaries, posting metal signs and markers and
installing metal gates. The base property will not be
fenced off, however. Aside from the sheer size, fencing
“wouldn’t be good for the desert
tortoise,” he said, referring to the
federally protected desert dweller.
To help the public avoid the
military restricted area, the
Resource Management Group
developed a smartphone app for
Android and iPhones.
“When you are on the shared-
use area, it’s bright green. It’s got
points of interest on it,” Ricker
said. “Once you start getting closer
to the border, it’ll warn you. If you
actually get into base property —
anywhere on the base property,
whether on Johnson Valley or up
on the north — it will turn red.
You will have to make a physical
action to turn that off. It’s not like
it’s going to be there for two sec-
onds and it’s going to go away.”
The Marine Corps is looking at
adding some training facilities and
ranges on the new land, but noth-
ing has been decided yet.
“There will be some, but we’re not
looking at putting a lot out there,”
The Resource Management Group
also plans to hold a public meeting in nearby Lucerne
Valley, west of Twentynine Palms, in November to discuss
the plans, he said. Officials also will ramp up public notifications again in May, ahead of LSE- 16.
The use of live-virtual-constructive simulations at
Twentynine Palms lets the MAGTF Training Command
and Training and Education Command train a larger,
brigade-sized force and put commanders and their
staffs through the intensity of combined-arms expeditionary training.
But for all the benefits, officials said, the presence of
real forces — live, breathing Marines and Sailors, beefy
amtracs crawling through rugged terrain, aircraft flying
through the dusty haze — ultimately tests commanders
and their staffs the most. That’s the realism training officials want units to have training in the desert.
Like its 2014 predecessor, the unit doing LSE 2015 in
August, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, was to operate
with three reinforced battalions, but the third is “there”
constructively. While regiments usually have three battalions, “we don’t have sufficient space here to run the third
battalion,” Kennedy said, so “that third battalion was
strictly constructive. There was no space for them.”
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 24 SEAPOWER / SEPTEMBER 2015
Marines with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, participate in a
fire support coordination exercise with ground combat element units aboard
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, Calif.,
July 29. The MCAGCC is expanding to allow the Corps to put more maneuver
units on the ground, operate in adjacent areas and fire weapons systems at
greater ranges so Marines can better train as they fight.