MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with Company A, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, put their training to the test during their first fire team-level collective skills exercise at Range K509 Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 16, 2014.
Having completed individual live-fire zeroing exercises with the M4 carbine rifle, M16-A4 service rifle, M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle and M203 grenade launcher in past weeks, the company was ready to move from individual to collective skills-based training.
“I have never spent so much time developing (a Marine’s) individual skills,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Ellis, platoon sergeant, 2nd platoon, Co. A, GCEITF. “It really proved to pay a lot toward our collective skills training. The more strength you build in a foundation, the sturdier the house is.”
Fire teams traversed the range and engaged targets ranging from 75 to 300 meters during their initial assault, and 100 to 200 meters during the counterattack portion. Communication amongst the different fire team billet holders was crucial.
“We are utilizing a release point for the squad to allow the fire team to attack a small enemy force through fire and movement,” Ellis said. “It’s a really good (approach) to the crawl-walk-run method.”
The range contained numerous pop-up targets to allow consistent employment of team members, notably the automatic rifleman and grenadier.
“We’re employing our fire team leaders to understand the concept of employment of communicator abilities,” Ellis said. “The Marines in a fire team complement each other and (the leader) can (efficiently) control them through and after the assault.”
Once all targets were neutralized, the Marines tactically pulled back from the range, covering each other every step of the way until the exercise was over. After action briefs were conducted to evaluate performance and identify aspects to improve on.
“This range was great in the sense that it brought the Marines together and had them put these tactical concepts into reality,” said Cpl. Jose A. Cabrera, fire team leader, 1st platoon, Co. A, GCEITF. “The Marines are doing exceptionally well working together.”
From October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will conduct individual and collective skills training in designated combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.