After a month of intense training, Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton were asked to test what could be the future of warfighting as the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory unveiled 40 new types of technology.
In the integrated experiment, role players simulated an attack on Marines so they could test the equipment in a combat-style environment.
Major Jason Dempsey is the officer in charge of the experiment.
"Our motto is 'We drive the future'," he said.
"In Iraq and Afghanistan most of our casualties came from logistical convoys," Dempsey explained. "Logistics are the fuel, the water, the chow… everything that a unit needs to survive."
Marines would run out of the supplies they needed so supply trucks would be sent barreling toward the battle zone on roads booby-trapped with bombs, with injuries to troops.
Dempsey coordinated the airlifts for injured troops.
"You got numb to it," he explained. "You just know it's going to happen."
In an effort to become more self-sufficient, the military is testing water-purifying and energy-generating backpacks.
To become safer and smarter, the remote controlled "Dragon Runner" acts as their eyes on the ground.
The Instant Eye and the Black Hornet do the same from the sky.
A gun too big to be carried into combat is mounted on the MUTT, which can be controlled with a joystick and is basically a mobile death machine.
A mobile medical center called the Shock Trauma Center is made up of a tent with two beds. It stores cold blood, has a warming blanket and other supplies. It can also transmit data to surgeons, who can help remotely, and will be better prepared for the patient when they get back to base or the ship.
"We want the Marine Corps to be more lethal, more efficient and more survivable," Dempsey explained. "That's why we do it."
As he fought back tears, it was clear that behind the effort to make the Marine Corps a bigger beast is a lot of heart.