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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Back in the saddle

By Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | January 15, 2019


With another new year upon us, it initiates the start of new calendar training for 2019. Back in the Saddle (BITS) training is an annual occurrence that takes place after the winter holiday season, and in many cases longer periods of leave. Commands throughout the Marine Corps require this training to ensure Marines are staying up to par with standards and safety procedures.

“It's really a refresher on safety training,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Hali Brown, safety officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion (H&S Bn.), Marine Corps Installations – West (MCI-W) Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton. “It reiterates criteria that the command sees fit.”

The purpose of doing it after the holidays and during the summer is to ensure that Marines are staying safe and following orders during times that are common for mishaps to happen.

“It's best to do it right when Marines get back from holiday leave blocks,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Andrew Rundle, operations chief, H&S Bn., MCI-W, MCB Camp Pendleton. “That’s why it’s called back in the saddle.”

Commands typically organize unit coordinated physical training such as hikes or runs, along with a safety brief from subject matter experts on various topics. The training criteria varies due to local environments and climate changes. Camp Pendleton typically focuses on fire, ocean and traffic safety because of its geographical location.

“PMO, Fire Safety and Lifeguards from Camp Pendleton come out and give safety training” said Rundle. “They cover the trends that happened last year and what to expect this year.”

Commands take this time to encourage maximum participation of every voice to be heard in how units can operate in a safe manner, and the training is always changing to coincide with any local hazards or trending issues. All this is of course to ensure that Marines are ready for any mission, without complacency and unnecessary safety issues interfering in accomplishing it.