SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The security element of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s (Special Operations Capable) Maritime Special Purpose Force received a full day of live-fire training at the infantry assault course here.
The training was intended to build teamwork and proficiency while practicing one of the most basic infantry tactics—the squad assault. If a patrol of Marines comes under attack, Marines, particularly their squad leaders, need to know how to repel the attack and that is just the Marines were learning.
According to Cpl Dustin Anderson, second squad leader, MSPF security element, the range gave the Marines the ability to conduct live fire squad assault exercises with fire support from M240G machine guns.
“This has been one of the better ranges I’ve seen with live fire. Just the fact that we get real support by fire is important to the training,” said Anderson.
Anderson related that this type of training is something that does not happen very often. For the past few months, the security element has been focusing on urban tactics and the training has focused more on close quarters fighting, he explained.
Because of the tendency to focus on urban tactics, Anderson hopes his Marines understand the value of the training they received.
“We’ve been hitting it pretty hard but [but the Marines] know we need this training. They’re treating it for real and they’re using it. This is the first time [we’ve done this] in a while. We’re just getting back to the old ‘grunt tactics’,” said Anderson.
“I really want [the Marines] to think for themselves and understand the basics of this training. This is just as important as anyting else,” he said.
Cpl Scott Guinn, third squad leader with the MSPF security element, believed in the training as much as Anderson. For Guinn, it was good to get to see how much ammunition was made available to the team.
“This is some of the best training we’ve been able to do,” said Guinn.
“We’ve been shooting a lot of rounds and getting our Marines proficient with their weapons systems.”
Guinn explained that during an average day of training, he and his Marines would have to conserve ammunition and make a small amount last all day.
According to Guinn, his squad automatic weapon (SAW) gunner would ordinarily have to make 200 rounds last throughout the whole training evolution, but since they have been here, his SAW gunner has gotten 600 rounds each time they start the course of fire.
Evidently the training has been good because according to Guinn, his Marines are enjoyed it.
“The number of rounds we’ve been getting has been great and we actually get to shoot without restrictions. The Marines are really enjoying it,” an enthusiastic Guinn explained.
Though fun, the training has not been without challenges. For Cpl Adam Brown, first squad leader with the security element, this was first time he has done this type of training as a squad leader.
“I’ve just been learning the ins and outs of the exercises and managing my squad during the training. There are a lot of different moving parts and I’ve had to be ready to change the plan, just being flexible,” said Brown.
His guidance must have paid off throughout the day, because his Marines have been doing exactly what they are supposed he explained.
“I tell them what to do and they do it. We’re definitely getting better every time we go through the course,” said Brown.
The consensus from the three corporals seemed to be the same throughout. From getting to shoot a large number of rounds to getting back to the basics of the infantry, the day’s training was worth it.
“Since we’re the security element [for MSPF] we have more [training ammunition] than a regular [infantry] company would get to do this. We’ve been doing mostly urban training but this is more conventional—it’s definitely nice to knock the rust off,” said Brown.