Guard Company Trains for Unique Mission

1 Oct 2014 | Lance Cpl. Corbett Ferguson Marine Barracks

For the Marines of Guard Company, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. their mission of providing security for the Barracks and its residents is never ending. One of their most high-profile tasks is providing security during the Friday Evening Parades.


During parades, guard Marines stand post in the iconic Dress Blue Alpha uniform providing security at every Barracks entrance. To be prepared to respond to a deadly threat, the Marines must be able to draw and fire their service pistols while being surrounded by innocent bystanders. The ability to accurately engage a target in a Dress Blues jacket is a difficult skill.


Guard Marines recently completed two separate training evolutions to give them the confidence and experience they need to accurately use their 9 mm service pistols while wearing the Dress Blue uniform as well as enhance their infantry skills by throwing 67 mm fragment grenades during training evolutions at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.


“Even with our Marines’ busy schedule during ceremonial events and providing daily security for the ‘Oldest Post in the Corps’, taking the opportunity to enhance and sustain our basic infantry skills, that will be required of all of us when we return to the fleet, is necessary,” said Sgt. Joshua Georgeson.


During the 9 mm training evolution in early August, guard company conducted a range where Marines engaged a close-range target with a four-shot group in low-light conditions. The range not only provided training, it doubled as a qualification course. To pass the course Marines were required to shoot thirty-two of their forty shots inside incapacitation zones on a standard body-sized target. Starting from a holstered position, guard Marines had to quickly draw the weapon, acquire the target, and fire four quick shots before reloading. Failure to do so resulted in remediation until that Marine could confidently meet those standards.


Guard Marines do not lose sight of their primary military occupational specialty - infantryman. The second training evolution in August, consisted of a grenade range, to re-familiarize the Marines with the 67 mm fragmentation grenade. This range was intended as a refresher course on the proper use and employment of  the 67 mm fragmentation grenade.


For most of the Marines this was the first time since attending the School of Infantry that they had the opportunity to employ a grenade. Starting in a large group, they began with 69 mm training grenade, and they demonstrated their ability to confidently throw a practice grenade. Instructed by guard company leadership, Marines were retaught proper grenade procedures, and the correct actions to take in the event of a poor throw or a dropped grenade.


Once the Marines demonstrated proficiency with the dummy grenades, they were brought to the grenade pits in groups of six. Throughout the entire evolution each Marine threw at least two grenades, becoming more comfortable with the weapon system.


In the near future, this range will allow for a combined-arms exercise, combining the direct-fire capabilities of a rifle, with the indirect-fire capabilities of the grenade to iterate the effectiveness of Combined Arms Tactics.


Overall, the company leadership said the training exercises were successful because guard company improved their confidence firing the 9 mm service pistol in Dress Blues and throwing the 67 mm grenade.


They said breaking away from a summer full of providing round-the-clock security to Marine Barracks Washington and representing the Marine Corps during parades and other events, allowed the Marines to focus on developing their warfighting skills, as many look to transition to operational infantry battalions in the future.