Marines Designate Infantry Battalion as New Experimental Unit

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector propels through the Honolulu Harbor on March 3, 2014, during its first-ever speed observation. The UHAC is a new development intended to enhance shore access and load capabilities during ship-to-shore operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector propels through the Honolulu Harbor on March 3, 2014, during its first-ever speed observation. The UHAC is a new development intended to enhance shore access and load capabilities during ship-to-shore operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Marines assigned to the legendary “Dark Horse” battalion may get the chance to try out new gear, technology, and fighting methods before they are introduced service-wide.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said Friday that 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, California, would spend the next year acting as the Corps’ experimental unit, working with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab to field-test new ideas and equipment over the course of ordinary training and operations.

“They’re going to be our experimental platform, if you will, and we’ll give them capabilities and do it in an efficient way — which is, give it to Marines and let them figure it out, because they’re our best developers and experimenters,” Neller said.

It’s the first time the Marine Corps has ever designated an experimental unit, and underscores the heavy emphasis the Marine Corps and Navy communities are placing on innovation.

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Hope Hodge Seck
Hope Hodge Seck is a reporter at Military.com. She can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.