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Training Warriors to Keep the Corps Connected

Twentynine Palms is the home to the world's largest Marine Corps Base. It is the premier training facility in the world for Marine operations and draws military personnel from all over the world for Combined Arms Exercises. The two-fold mission of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command [MAGTFTC] is to operate the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center for live fire combined arms training that promotes readiness of operating forces; and provide facilities, services, and support, responsive to the needs of tenant commands, Marines, Sailors and their families. The population assigned-served for the Combat Center is 9,723, Active Duty members, 8,588 dependents, and approximately 1,398 civilians. Twentynine Palms is the premier live-fire base in the Marine Corps. Each year roughly one-third of the Fleet Marine Force and Marine Reserve units -- some 50,000 Marines in all -- participate in the base's training exercise program. These training exercises involve every weapons system in the Marine Corps' arsenal, from small arms to attack aircraft. They are absolutely essential to maintaining high levels of readiness of the U.S. Marine Corps to fight and defend U.S. National interests. The Combat Center at Twentynine Palms occupies 932 square miles, or 596,000 acres of the southern Mojave Desert. The Combat Center is three-quarters the size of Rhode Island. Such a sizable land area is essential to the conduct of realistic air/ground combat training exercises. The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (aka The Combat Center) is located in the Morongo basin which stretches from approximately Interstate 10 to Interstate 40. Within the Morongo basin are located the towns of Morongo Valley, Yucca valley, Joshua tree and Twentynine Palms, the largest being Yucca valley. The Morongo Basin is centrally located in Southern California in the "high" desert region of the Mojave Desert. The basin is often used by travelers from the metropolitan areas of Southern California going to the Joshua Tree National Park and vacation spots in Arizona and Nevada, (Laughlin or Las Vegas). Twentynine Palms is the gateway to the Joshua Tree National Park, 568,000 acres of some of the world's greatest cultural and natural resources. The Park attracted over a million visitors to the area last year and the diversity of those visitors was almost as great as that of the park itself. Proximity to Major Metropolitan areas or Recreational areas: Big Bear, CA - 113 miles Colorado River - 78 miles Palm Springs, CA - 64 miles Los Angeles, CA - 158 miles San Diego, CA - 177 miles Laughlin, NV - 168 miles Las Vegas, NV - 213 miles. The area encompassing Twentynine Palms is the Morongo Basin and is classified as having an arid, upland desert climate. The summer months are characterized by high temperatures, low humidity and clear, sunny days. While the average annual temperature is 67 degrees, temperatures occasionally reach 120 degrees in the summer and drop to 15 degrees in winter. Average annual precipitation is about four inches, most of it occurring as rain from July to January. Some freezing rain and snow does occur during the winter at higher elevations. The terrain consists of steeply sloped mountains with flat intervening valleys that are oriented northwest-southeast. Relief is moderate, with elevations ranging from 1,800 to 4,500 feet. most mountain segments have approximately 2,000 feet of relief from the valley edge to their summits. There are also several dune areas, lava flows, and dry lakes that collect water during brief periods of heavy rain. The major commands aboard the Combat Center are Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, 7th Marine Regiment (REIN), Combat Service Support Group-1, Air Ground Support Element, Headquarters Battalion and Naval Hospital. The Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School (MCCES), located on base, is the largest formal school in the entire U.S. Marine Corps. On an annual basis, it conducts a total of 316 classes in 51 course offerings, leading to 37 occupational specialties. The mission of MCCES is to train electronic technicians, radio/radar operators and air intercept operators. The land has a history of military use dating back to 1940 when the Army used the area for training glider crews. When glider training ended in 1943, the Army switched to training fighter pilots. At the end of World War II the Navy used the area as a bombing range until 1945 when it was transferred to San Bernardino County. In 1952 the Marine Corps took charge and was designated Headquarters, Marine Corps Training Center and in 1957 it was commissioned as a Marine Corps Base. In 1979 the base finally became the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

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