MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The purpose of the exercise was to enhance proficiency at the fire team and squad level, and prepare the battalion for their upcoming training evolution during Talon Exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
“Our battalion is in a transition phase where a lot of our Marines are leaving,” said Capt. Jonathan Lucas, the company commander of India Company. “This is about building readiness for these new Marines that we are receiving.”
Talon Ex is an exercise held in the grueling terrain of the desert, specifically for the infantry, that focuses on air assault operations like helicopter raids, and groundside unit operations like patrolling and ambushes. It runs concurrently with the Weapons Tactics Instructor Course.
Rifle companies primarily reinforced tactics and techniques such as patrols, buddy rushes and immediate action drills - skills that are at the very core of a Marine infantryman. Elsewhere, weapons-specific platoons honed their skills with the .50 caliber machine gun and M-41 Saber missile launcher
“Exercises like today are excellent for readiness,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan T. Burel, a section leader with India Co. “It takes us back to the basics of what the infantry operates on and brings our newest Marines up to speed on where we need them to be in this battalion.”
According to Lucas, the exercise not only engages the infantry, but the support elements such as the combat operations center, communications and logistics.
“Having these companies out here at the same time but doing different things enhances the command and control for the battalion and the lateral communications between the companies,” Lucas said. “We’ve seen the battalion get into a rhythm for all of those things this past week.”
Achieving and maintaining an exemplary level of capability is important; it means Marines can accomplish the mission even when they are not alongside those they normally train with, according to Burel.
“This training establishes a base line for the battalion to operate on when it later gets temporarily reorganized,” Burel said. “If there is interchanging within the companies, we are all still prepared to operate on the base line of where an infantry battalion should be.”
With their foundation on infantry tactics made stronger, leaders feel confident about their Marines’ ability to meet the upcoming challenges of Talon Ex.
“Brilliance in the basics, and shooting moving and communicating are essential,” Lucas said. “If our squads can execute their tasks well, we will be successful.”