SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, OAHU, Hawaii --
The Marines and Sailors of Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, having finished a weeklong patrol training package at Oahu’s North Shore, moved to the Army’s Schofield Barracks May 9 to conduct live-fire exercises and weapons familiarization.
The weapons training, including small-arms fire and grenade usage, helped keep the Marines of Golf Company focused as the prospect of possible future operations looms on the horizons, according to Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. Greenwood, M-203 gunner, 3rd Platoon, Golf Company.
“I think [this training] is important because we’re going to be on ship and there is not going to be a lot of time, and because we had a short build-up,” said Greenwood. “By getting as much trigger time as we can, it keeps us prepared and keeps us sharp,” said Greenwood, a native of Reedsburg, Wis.
At Schofield Barracks, the Marines got an extra opportunity to hone their abilities after an accelerated work-up cycle over the last five months, said Greenwood.
“Because we had a short build-up, we haven’t done nearly as many ranges as I’ve heard all our senior Marines talk about for their [prior workups],” said Greenwood. “So to be prepared for anything, I think the training is beneficial,” added Greenwood.
With weeks and months on ship surrounded by open sea, chances to operate and maintain individual weapons systems in realistic combat training environments are hard to come by, according to 2nd Lt. Robert C. Casper, 3rd platoon commander, Golf Company.
However, when the Marines of Golf Company get a chance to shoot, they take it, said Casper.
“Any chance to get trigger time is a good training opportunity, no matter what,”
Casper said. “The Marines are going to sit on the ship for a while and I’m sure their skills can begin to atrophy, so [the weapons training] is just another thing that lets us do some maintenance on skills and improve what we’re already good at.”
The proficiency with weapons and tactical skill honed during the training at Schofield Barracks will carry over throughout the deployment, added Casper, a native of Houston.
“This training is maintenance, but we are always improving ourselves,” said Casper. “Improving the Marines, improving what Golf Company is able to do, it’s just going to set us up for success when we’re out there operating in a real-world environment,” Casper said.
For the Marines and Sailors of Golf Company, the prospect of taking part in possible operations in the future factors into all training exercises during deployment, according to Casper.
Schofield Barracks, though humid and surrounded by jungle, helped groom the Marines and Sailors of Golf Company for the rigors of real-world operations, according to Sgt. Michael C. Brandon, squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Golf Company.
“Since we are on a MEU, we could go into [combat] at any time, so as much training as we can get right now is great - especially for the junior Marines who don’t have as much time in as the senior Marines,” said Brandon. “When we just jump right into the training we’re already in the right mindset if we get sent into country.”
The training at Schofield Barracks also reminds the Marines and Sailors of Golf Company that preparation for combat does not end when pre-deployment training ends, said Brandon, a native of Marion, Ky.
“This was a pretty short build-up, so I think it’s definitely good that we’re still doing a lot of training like this,” said Brandon. “From the most junior Marine all the way up to the squad leaders and platoon sergeants, [the training] enhances our ability to make quick decisions and stay on our toes.”
The Camp Pendleton, Calif. based 15th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and Sailors and is a forward deployed force of readiness capable of conducting numerous operations, such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations, Humanitarian Assistance Operations and a wide range of amphibious missions. The 15th MEU is currently deployed aboard the USS Peleliu (LHA-5), USS Dubuque (LPD-8) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52).