MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Marine Barracks Washington ceremonial marchers traveled to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., for field and helicopter exercises, March 23 and 24.
Alpha Company’s first and second platoons received classes in land navigation, hand and arm signals and security patrolling.
“Classes help, but getting to the field is when we learn the best.” said Lance Cpl. Evan Candoo, squad leader, second platoon.
After completion of the classes, the Marines walked into the tree line and set up camp for the night.
During the evening and early the next morning, three separate squads put all the classes together and practiced security patrols.
Several Marines posed as enemy combatants. They wore different uniforms and sat in the woods waiting to ambush each patrol.
The mock enemies fired on each squad, testing the tactics and abilities of each group.
“Today my heart rate rose when I saw the ‘enemy,’” said Lance Cpl. Gabe Kennedy, Marine Corps Color Guard. “Then we began rushing. It’s a feeling grunts need more often than we get here.”
When Kennedy saw the enemy he dropped and began laying down suppressive fire so his fellow Marines could rush towards the enemy.
Upon completion of the practice patrols, the Marines prepared for helicopter operations. Smiles were everywhere as Marines began pulling out cameras and cell phones, capturing the moment that, for many of them, was the first time riding on a helicopter. The Marines learned how to speedily embark on the choppers in a single file line, strap in, and form a 360 degree security perimeter after landing. The pilots careened the helicopter in sharp turns, introducing the Marines to the full capabilities of the choppers.
“The helicopter ride was awesome!” said Lance Cpl. Gabe Kennedy. “I don’t know why we don’t take choppers everywhere! I learned a lot and really enjoyed my time in the field, and I can’t wait to get back out here, but for now its back to the parade deck.”
Alpha company consists of infantry Marines who spend two years away from the operating forces to learn drill and perform in ceremonies around the national capital region and abroad. Upon returning to the operating forces, the Marines must quickly review their combat skills before deploying. Field exercises like this help make the transition much smoother.
“I’m very proud of the way the Marines performed these past few days,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob H. Rozelle, second platoon sergeant. “They don’t get to the field very often, and they made the most of their opportunity.”