MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.-- The sound of mortars echoed through the air as Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine regiment, maneuvered through the dry, rocky creek bed. Machine guns rained suppressive fire down on the opposing hill in an effort to give the riflemen necessary cover.
For the next three days riflemen, assault men, machine-gunners and mortar-men practiced assaulting the enemy in various sized groups, collaborating with one another. This exercise is intended to familiarize squad leaders with their units and elements of engagement while giving them the opportunity to mentor Marines in their charge.
Mortarmen from Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, prepare rounds for their next fire mission during a squad and fire team maneuver exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, April 2, 2014. The exercise allowed Marines from the company to re-familiarize themselves with their weapon systems as well as 60 mm mortars, M240 B machine guns, Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW) and while practicing squad and fire team tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ashton Buckingham)
“Here at range 219 we have been using the crawl, walk, run style of training,” said Cpl. Nathan Aschenbrenner, squad leader of 1st platoon. “We utilized fire team attacks to emphasize small unit leadership. This is the culmination of that. We are combining all the fire teams together and doing squad rushes.”
While conducting the attacks, first-time squad leaders are trying to uphold 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, nicknamed “The Magnificent Bastards”, long and proud history.
“There is always that adjustment period when you're the new guy to the unit,” said Capt. Nathan M. Rollins the commanding officer of Fox Co. “Marines are Marines, and we all come from a similar background that makes a communality between us. However, every unit has it's own culture that you adjust to and try to live up to.”
With such a prestigious history, the squad leaders have been ensuring the junior Marines learn the concepts by using proven methods. These methods include going over the information as a group and organizing run-throughs and rehearsals of the concepts. Also, practical application where Marines put what they learned to use in live-fire exercises, explained Cpl. Alfred Johnson II, the machine gun section leader.
“My machine gunners have really understood and have been taking a closer note at what the infantrymen do on the ground,” said Johnson, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. “It has really come to play when supporting them.”
There has definitely been some growing pains, but through rehearsals and multiple run-throughs it has really come together, said Aschenbrenner, a native of Edmon, Okla. These basic concepts are a key part of every infantryman
“Ultimately I'm looking to train these Marines better then I was trained,” said Aschenbrenner. “The bar is definitely set high because I had some great leadership but I think they can do it,”
Every Marine is a rifleman, and leading from the front are some of the simple concepts that make the Marine Corps world renowned for their war fighting ability. Through their intentional and strategic training, 2nd Bn., 4th Marines are bringing these concepts to life for their Marines.
More photos available below
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ashton Buckingham
Provided through DVIDS
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