FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Every Marine, a rifleman. A Marine Corps mantra instilled in recruits brains beginning the first day of basic training, what all Marines stand for, no matter their military occupational specialty.
Non-infantry Marines such as food specialists, mechanics, supply specialists, drivers, armorers, maintenance Marines and more are stepping outside of their everyday jobs and reconnecting with their roots by conducting foot patrols, setting up defenses and standing 24-hour watch periods at the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Support Service Area in Ft. Pickett, Va.
“We have one entrance and one exit point to our CSSA, we also have 360 degree security dug in fighting holes as well as a ready foot-mobile force, which is an all-hands command that we give. Everyone knows their position just in case we are overrun by the enemy,” said Staff Sgt. George Oliver, the Headquarters and Service Company gunnery sergeant. “Besides the basic defense we also conduct foot patrols, whether it is security patrols or reconnaissance patrols.”
The Marines conduct foot patrols in any weather and anywhere from three to six miles before returning to the CSSA.
“The skills that are being refined during the foot patrols are the skills taught at basic training and Marine Combat Training, such as always searching your sectors, covering the Marines to your left and right, looking for disturbed vegetation, enemy danger areas, low and high bridges and possible improvised explosive device emplacement,” said Oliver, a Savannah, Ga. native.
Reminding the Marines they can be taken out of their comfort zone at any point is key to the Marine Corps mission as ‘America’s 911 force’.
“In all reality every Marine is a rifleman, we can all get sent off at any moment to do any job we are needed to do,” said Lance Cpl. Devan M. Compton, a supply specialist with the battalion. “So it is nice because being with supply we don’t always get to practice this.”
Reawakening the mindset and skills the Marines previously acquired through blood, sweat and tears is one of Oliver’s goals with this training.
“I always want my Marines to remember why they became a Marine and to always hold it close to their heart. The embodiment we left boot camp with all comes back here because it brings back our roots of people driving us and going on patrols, sweating, lack of food and sleep but you still have to accomplish the mission,” he said.
With fresh minds and memory, new skills and tactics, the Marines continue to learn and improve themselves.
“In this occupation we are all about one shot, one kill. Out in public we can be that poster child in our Dress Blue uniform looking nice, but as a Marine, our ultimate job is to hit and kill the target,” added Oliver.