U.S. Marines participate in service-level training events to include Integrated Training Exercise 5-20, and Marine Air Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise (MWX) 5-20, at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, June 2020. Twentynine Palms Base is located within the Morongo Basin and the High Desert region of the Mojave Desert, in Southern California. MWX is the culminating event of the service level training exercise, challenging Marines to fight against a free thinking adversary with similar capabilities in a force on force environment.
The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), also known as 29 Palms, is the largest United States Marine Corps base. It was a census-designated place (CDP) officially known as Twentynine Palms Base located adjacent to the city of Twentynine Palms in southern San Bernardino County, California. MCAGCC Twentynine Palms is approximately 98 miles from the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, which is located in the city of Barstow, California. It is also approximately 111 miles from the Barstow-Daggett Airport located in Daggett, California.
The base is currently home to one of the largest military training areas in the nation. The program known as Mojave Viper has become the model of pre-Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment training. The majority of units in the Marine Corps will undergo a month at Mojave Viper before deploying to Iraq or a mixed training venue using the Mountain Warfare Training Center (south of Lake Tahoe) for Afghanistan. Live fire exercises, artillery, tank, and close air support training are used for training, in addition to the sprawling “Combat Town,” a 274-acre (1,110,000 m2) fabricated Middle Eastern village, complete with a mosque, native role-players, an “IED Alley,” and other immersive touches.
In August 2008, the Marine Corps submitted a land withdrawal application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for approximately 422,000 acres (1,710 km2) contiguous to base as part of an ongoing study by the Marine Corps for possible base expansion, along with the establishment of corresponding special-use airspace, necessary to train a Marine Expeditionary Brigade at the Combat Center. The expeditionary airfield and surrounding spartan accommodations for visiting units was nicknamed “Camp Wilson”.