Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Brent Wade, 3rd platoon sergeant, and 2ndLt. Ryan C. Spangler, 3rd platoon commander, with Charlie Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, give their Marines suggestions on what they can do better in their next terrain model at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., June 2, 2013. A terrain model is a physical model of an area on a map and is used for strategic purposes.

Photo by Pfc. Jose Mendez Jr.

AABn refreshes in land navigation

12 Jun 2013 | Pfc. Jose Mendez Jr

Three sergeants with 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, came up with a productive way to make downtime a learning opportunity at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., June 2, 2013.

Sergeant Andrew Hull, 1st section leader, Sgt. Osmel Delgado, 2nd section leader, and Sgt. Matthew R. Sanville, 3rd section leader, decided to refresh their Marines memory and skills with a land navigation class and course, as well as a terrain model exercise.

“At the moment we didn’t have anything to do so we basically looked into what will benefit our Marines the most and a lot of them really don’t have much training on terrain models,” said Hull. “We know that during ITX (integrated training exercise) we will be making multiple (terrain models) for different operations we take part in and teaching them now will make our lives easier in the future.”

During the ITX, in fall 2013 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Calif., Marines with AA Bn. will be working with different units from 2nd Marine Division including some infantry, tank and artillery units.

First, Marines were tasked with creating a terrain model based on a section of a map the sergeants chose. The Marines were told to only use items found in the surrounding areas to create the model such as grass, sand and rocks.

After one hour of construction to create the terrain model the 3rd platoon commander 2ndLt. Ryan C. Spangler and platoon sergeant Staff Sgt. Brent Wade reviewed what the Marines created.

With the platoon commander and platoon sergeant pleased with the Marines display it was time for land navigation to begin.

Prior to releasing Marines into the woods with a map, compass and coordinates, Delgado held a brief 40-minute land navigation refresher class.

“I taught them how to get a pace count, proper usage of the compass and its nomenclature, azimuth and what to do if they were to get lost,” said Delgado.

The Marines were released in groups of threes and fours to find three coordinates hidden in the woods. The locations were identified with codes marked on cardboard that the Marines had to write down to assure they were found correctly.

“I believe the training was immensely helpful. They learned a lot, made an amazing terrain model and found most of the points in land navigation,” said Hull. “Now they know what they did wrong and what they can do better the next time.”

Marines of third platoon can look forward to constructing more terrain models and participating in additional land navigation courses during downtime in their schedules.

“Everything we did today is a perishable skill so basically our Marines were rusty,” said Delgado. “This is something that we want to keep doing to make ourselves better.”