FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Marines of Anti-Tank Platoon and Scout Platoon train day in and day out to successfully support the main body of the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
March 31 - April 2, the platoons conducted training at a grenade range, as well as the Combat Marksmanship Program Unknown Distance Range and an Urban Assault Course.
“We are the tip of the spear for 2nd Tank Battalion. We go ahead of the battalion to gather intelligence and reconnaissance and then pass the information back allowing the battalion commander to better guide his tanks throughout the battlefield,” said Sgt. Windell S. Ingle, the Scout Platoon sergeant, from Peoria, Ill.
In order to qualify with the M67 Fragmentation Grenade the Marines had to first qualify by throwing three practice grenades.
“Throwing grenades properly and on target is a perishable skill. It’s kind of like throwing a baseball after a year off the field,” said Cpl. Patrick W. Westcott, a Tiverton, R.I. native and team leader with Scout Platoon.
Once refreshed in their heads they headed for the live grenade range.
“My favorite part is the boom,” said Westcott. “Picture it like you’re in Best Buy near the speakers and you press the max volume button and it is booming in your chest.”
After the grenade range, the platoons got a nights rest and headed for the Urban Assault Course and the unknown distance range. The purpose of the UAC is to conduct military operations in urban terrains, specifically focusing on clearing hostile buildings. In a fast-paced range, Marines moved building-to-building and room-to-room to take out the targets.
“Not a lot of people in our platoon have ever done this,” said Lance Cpl. Derek Bowyer, from Beckley, W.Va., and a driver with the Anti-Tank Platoon. “We have done a bunch of MOUT operations in Camp Lejeune, but never at this caliber of live-ammunition. I love this. I hope we can do more things like this.”
In the unknown distance range, targets appear randomly from 50 to 300 meters only giving a limited amount of time for the Marines to shoot.
“In combat you never know where or when the enemy is going to show. You have to be ready to engage at any distance and take them out before they can,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy P. Rice a driver with Scouts and native of Melbourne, Fla.
The training forced the platoons to rely on each other and to have a tact-sharp reflexes and awareness.
“In the movies everyone hits their target ... over here you have to make sure you are on point to hit the target,” said Bowyer.
As the Marines wrap up the ranges they faced with focus and determination, they leave with a boost of confidence and higher-trust for each other.
“It is good to know you hit the target and if it were an enemy trying to kill you or your brothers that you can take him out first,” added Westcott.