Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
“We are a force in readiness,” said Sgt. Joshua Washington, a squad leader with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. “Although we are training to prepare for our deployment to Okinawa, we still need to be ready to go anywhere in the world.”
Washington’s squad conducted a live-fire exercise Feb. 11, 2013, at Shooting Range- 6, as part of a seven-day battalion field operation in preparation for the battalion’s upcoming scheduled deployment.
During the field op, the squad practiced establishing a squad defensive position, patrolling, military operations on urban terrain (MOUT), and counter improvised explosive device training.
As a squad leader, Washington issued a five paragraph order, an order telling Washington’s Marines how to complete the mission objective. It allows him to see an estimate of how many men and what types of equipment the enemy has. Once all information is collected, Washington then tells his squad in detail what their job will be during the mission and what to do in case of friendly casualties.
After the prep-phase, the Marines check their sights and conduct practice runs before conducting the live-fire range, where they will use real ammunition to fire on targets while moving through an open field using various tactics.
“Training has been outstanding so far,” said the Campbellsville, Ky., native. “I have well qualified team leaders training the new Marines to accomplish the mission and then to go above what is asked of them for mission success. As long as the Marines below me are learning something, I’ve accomplished my job.”
During the exercise, Marine rifleman move from their wooded cover position out to the open field. Then they move down range performing buddy rushes, a fire and maneuver technique that allows one Marine to move in a leap frog fashion while another Marine fires on targets ahead of the squad. While the squad is moving, a machine gun crew provides suppressive fire on a machine gun nest, shifting its fire ahead of the platoon once the squad leader tells them to.
Once the squad has fired all ammunition, a Marine who is monitoring the exercise will select a Marine in the squad to have a simulated casualty, which allows the corpsman to practice his job and the squad to practice what to do if a Marine is injured while attacking an objective.
“Whenever I hear, ‘corpsman up’ or ‘Marine hit’, I go straight to the area the call is coming from,” said Hospitalman Michael Bryson, a Navy corpsman with 2/6. “Usually by the time I arrive on scene the Marine is already telling me what’s wrong and where he is hit.”
“Before I begin assessing the injury, I will have a Marine post security for me,” said the corpsman, a native of Beckley, W. Va. “Once the security is posted, I immediately check for bright red blood spurting from the wound, if there isn’t any I don’t apply a tourniquet, but if there is then I will [apply a tourniquet] according to the wound.”
“The training is a great refresher. I’m able to refresh my knowledge of woodland warfare and get in the mindset of a cold, wet climate,” said Bryson. “I love being out here with the Marines. Taking care of these guys and making sure the junior corpsman know their job and what’s expected of them.”
Not only is the battalion focused on preparing for a deployment, they also want to make sure the new Marines are learning their role with their new squad mates.
“So far the training has been cold, wet and muddy,” said Jacksonville, Fla., native Lance Cpl. Walter Johnson, a team leader with the battalion, “but my team is doing well so far and learning how to adapt to the weather and building unit cohesion. I’ve been a team leader for a couple months, but this is my first field op with the new Marines. We’re trying to teach these new Marines the importance behind their job and to take care of each other no matter how stressed they are or how wrapped up they are in their own problems.”
New Marines may sometimes struggle with learning a unit’s operating procedures for a field op or even a deployment, but for the new Marines of 2/6, this not so small obstacle was easily overcome.
“Coming out, the Marines were excited to train,” said 2nd Lt. Brad Adams, a platoon commander with the company. “This is actually the first time for our new Marines to train in the field with the unit. Which is good for our unit cohesion, and it allows them to learn how we operate and what is expected when conducting fire missions.”