Photo Information

Marines with Alpha Company, Marine Barracks Washington, conduct live fire exercises at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., May 19. The exercise allowed Marines to complete annual training on Tables 3 and 4. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Ware)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Ware

Field Operations

19 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jeremy Ware

Before earning the title of Marine, recruits in basic training are taught the importance of working together as a team to endure the hardships of the training and build camaraderie.

These lessons transcend and follow Marines throughout their careers whether they are in combat, garrison or on a field exercise.

Marines with Company A, Marine Barracks Washington, took part in a live-fire field exercise, May 18-19, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., to sharpen their infantry skills and build camaraderie.

These Marines are infantrymen who have the unique duty of being ceremonial marchers and organizational bearers for the Marine Corps.  When their tours at MBW are complete, they will rotate back into the operational forces. It is important for them to sustain their combat skills through field exercises.

The two-day exercise focused on advanced shooting qualification which incorporated shooting while moving, to simulate a combat environment.

The leadership within the company expanded on the training criteria by creating an environment of uncertainty to keep the Marines on their toes, making it necessary for them to work together.

“The plan for this trip is based on uncertainty,” said Staff Sgt. James Woolford, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, A Co., MBW.  “It forces the Marines to come together, because you have to make it to the end together, there is no other option.”

After setting up the range, the uncertainty began for the Marines.

Captain Brian Wilson, platoon commander, 1st platoon, A Co., MBW, told select Marines to grab their full packs and flack jackets.  Not knowing what lay ahead of them, the Marines became uneasy.

The platoon commander and platoon sergeant designated a half-mile course that each Marine would run wearing a pack, while the rest of their squad performed various exercises, waiting for their turn to run.

“We had to run half a mile with the pack in hilly terrain,” said Lance Cpl William Fuitt, a fire team leader with 1st platoon, A Co., MBW. “It was hard.”

The Marines pushed through and completed the PT session, only to find out the session was far from over. They were instructed to grab their gear in preparation for a field march of an unknown distance.

Seeing that some of the Marines needed motivation, Woolford grabbed a large log and threw it on his shoulders to begin the march.

With the log on his shoulders, Woolford began walking to the front and rear of the formation seeking out junior Marines looking for a challenge.  Under the weight of both the gear and the approximately 50-pound log, the Marines needed encouragement to continue on.

“The Marines around them had to talk them trough the pain and that brings us together,” said Lance Cpl Patrick Sheiffele, a squad leader with 1st Plt., Co. A, MBW.

When a Marine became dehydrated the platoon commander seized the opportunity to let Lance Cpl. Jarrett Andrews, a combat life saver with Co. A, MBW, demonstrate the proper way to administer an intravenous (IV) drip during an impromptu period of military instruction.

“It helped me with my confidence and I got to share my knowledge with my platoon,” Andrews said.

After the field march and training were completed for the day, the Marines continued to bond by building a fire, roasting hotdogs and trading stories.

“I love it out here,” Andrews said.  “I got to do a lot and I learned about how my fellow Marines react to adversity and can lean on each other to get through anything.”