Washington, D.C. --
With the aid of Night Vision Goggles, a squad of Marines quietly patrols through the darkness on high alert as they prepare for imminent contact with a mock enemy.
The words echo throughout the night, as the squad of Marines drop and begin firing simulated suppressive fire towards the enemy, assaulting through their objective.
The night patrol was part of a three-day training evolution for Marines with 2nd Platoon, Company B, Marine Barracks Washington, and select Marine Body Bearers with B. Co., MBW. During the exercise Marines conducted patrols, practiced rappelling techniques and fired a variety of weapons systems aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 21-23.
Before conducting practical application exercises, the Marines received classes and conducted immediate action drills to prepare for their night patrol.
“Practical application is paramount to the Marines' ability to internalize the knowledge they gain from periods of instruction,” said Capt. Arten Agoulnik, the 2nd platoon commander, B. Co., MBW. “Even if a Marine understands the concepts taught to him in a classroom environment, he will not be confident in his ability to execute those concepts unless he has gained the experience of doing so during the practical application process.”
Following the IA drills, the Marines put on their gear and marched to the rappel tower.
“I’m not the biggest fan of heights,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Fill, a fire team leader, with 2nd platoon. “But I went up there like everyone else, faced my fear, and repelled down the wall.”
Throughout the training evolution, the Marines fired a variety of weaponry and completed an annual qualification by shooting Table 3 of the Combat Marksmanship Program with M-16 A4 service rifles. The Marines also fired M-249 squad automatic weapons and M-240 machine guns at targets of unknown and different distances course to maintain weapon proficiency.
“Firing each weapons system was fun,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle Hardin, a fire team leader with 2nd platoon, B. Co, MBW. “I haven’t had the chance to fire any of them in a while, so it was nice to get that feeling again.”
For the final exercise, seven Marines fired Anti-Tank 4 weapons systems on an AT-4 range which contains several tanks used as target.
“When the Marines fired the rockets, you felt the percussion of the explosion in your chest, its pretty ‘moto’,” said Lance Cpl. Errol Oskay, an assistant gunner with 2nd platoon, B. Co., MBW.
In the end the exercise provided each Marine with a great opportunity to maintain their proficiency as infantrymen.
”The Marines were taken out of their comfort zones and reintroduced to the environment in which some of them are scheduled to operate within the next 4 months as they hit the Fleet Marine Force,” Agoulnik said.