Feb. 16, 2012 - Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment,
attended the Tactical Small Unit Leadership Course for combat
leadership and skill training. Photo by USMC Sgt. Heather Golden
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (2/24/2012) - Life and death is an
infantryman's business. They need to know when to take it and to
know how to save it. Their mission's success depends on strong
leaders. Leading someone into and back out of death's hands demands
only the best.
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine
Regiment, sent their upcoming leaders to the field to complete the
Tactical Small Unit Leaders Course earlier this month.
two-week course took the Marines to the American Mine training area,
where they were consumed with combat leadership training.
average day for the grunts began at 5:30 a.m. Ranges and classes ran
daily until 6 p.m. with a chance of night fire.
scheduled were unique to each Marine's primary job.
The infantrymen, machine gunners, assaultmen and mortarmen
wereseparated from each other to focus on their individual required
While some focused on firing, others turned their
attention to maneuvering and communication.
can be a team leader in garrison. Out here we can see if
he's got it,” said Cpl. Brandon Besendorfer, mortar squad
leader, Company F, 2/7. “These are all peers. None of the
[new guys] are out here. They have all been on deployment
together. If you can't give a peer an order, how are you
supposed to be able to lead Marines?”
were given an abundance of ammunition for every weapon
brought to TSULC. The infantrymen cross-trained, meaning
they were taught weapon systems outside their normal job.
Basic riflemen were given machine guns, rocket launchers and
grenade launchers to train on.
from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., came to
American Mine with updated EOD reports from Afghanistan.
Based on the reports, they taught the Marines current
counter-improvised explosive devise measures.
newer guys learned a lot,” said Sgt. Erik Fredrickson,
platoon sergeant, Co. F, 2/7. “It was definitely beneficial,
and I definitely recommend more courses like these for the
future. I think they'd help.”
TSULC was also an
opportunity for the more experienced leaders to mentor the
“For us this is a refresher,” Fredrickson
said. “We are able to mentor the future team leaders and get
them ready for Afghanistan.”
The training period gave
the upcoming leaders an opportunity to refine and critique
The course ended with a
demonstration of what the Marines learned during their 12
days of training with the battalion leadership watching the
best squad in the group perform.
An evaluation was
held Feb. 16, to determine which squad that would be.
Each team and squad demonstrated their skill while
patrolling through a small valley, sweeping for improvised
explosive devices. Once the valley was clear, the Marines
crested a hill and attacked a bunker with multiple targets.
The Marines' communication, tactics and maneuvering were
Before the exercise, an evaluator
approached squad leader Sgt. Travis Beattie and asked his
scheme of maneuver. Knowing the most successful attacks come
from teams who can stay flexible, because situations are
constantly changing in battle, he replied, “We are going to
Beattie's squad had the most successful
run and was picked to demonstrate the final attack the
With the rest of the class watching,
along with the battalion and 7th Marine Regiment leaders,
the men who became known by some as the “super squad,”
conducted the final attack.
A convoy of four Humvee
vehicles traveled through a valley in the training area. The
first vehicle was hit by a simulated improvised explosive
Reacting immediately, the Marines
in the third Humvee unlatched a tow bar from their vehicle
and ran to the aid of the front vehicle, while the Marines
in the turrets of the remaining three Humvees provided cover
fire for them, shooting at simulated enemy targets. When the
first vehicle was secured for a tow, a 7-ton vehicle pulled
the first Humvee to safety.
Lance Cpl. Kyle Koch,
squad leader, Company F, fired his shoulder-launched
multipurpose assault weapon at a simulated target, a pile of
tires. Koch hit his target so exact, he sent a tire flying
hundreds of feet in the air with the explosion. This was
followed by an enormous cheer from the observing Marines who
had participated in TSULC with him.
The Marines split
up. Beattie established a support by fire position on a
berm, while three others swept around to the simulated
insurgents and cleared the area.
The mission was a
success, and for Koch's accuracy, Chief Warrant Officer
Christopher Jones, battalion gunner, pulled off his bursting
bomb rank insignia and gave it to the lance corporal.
More photos available below
By USMC Cpl. Sarah Dietz
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