Company L Marines practice squad-sized attacks
Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan -- "Moving!” shouted the squad leader as he took advantage of the covering fires from his squad mates to advance toward the enemy.
Fire and maneuver skills were one of several techniques Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, perfected during squad offensive operations training June 5 at Range 10 on Camp Schwab. The 3rd Bn., 6th Marines, are currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
The Marines conducted squad-supported attack and maneuver training using M240B medium machine guns, M27 infantry automatic rifles, MK153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons, AT-4 light anti-armor weapons, M203 grenade launchers attached to M16A4 and M4 service rifles, and C-4 explosive.
Noncommissioned officers rotated between squads and led the Marines through different scenarios.
“It helps us work with each other on a large-scale attack, which is something that we don’t normally get a chance to do,” said Lance Cpl. Justin L. Henshaw, a machine gun team leader with the company. “It’s great that we get to come out here and experience some different terrain.”
Communication and quick thinking are crucial during an assault because the situation develops rapidly as the enemy reacts, according to Henshaw.
“Squads must learn to adapt quickly to different situations and employ their weapons and Marines efficiently to secure the objective and accomplish the mission,” said Henshaw.
The live-fire training was preceded by classroom training sessions and walk-throughs on the firing line to ensure all safety precautions had been taught.
The training allowed the company to exercise different squads, fire teams and indirect fire and crew-served weapons in a live-fire setting, according to 1st Lt. Zachary W. Devlin-Foltz, a platoon commander with the unit.
“In addition to seeing the effects of live-fire and supporting assets, the Marines are also evaluated on their ability to react quickly in a live-fire situation,” said Devlin-Foltz. “This is something our Marines don’t usually do until they’re actually in a combat scenario. It’s hard to do that in a live-fire evolution, so we did our best to bring that element into today’s training.”
The company worked to make the environment as realistic as possible, putting squad leaders into situations where they had to make prudent decisions under pressure in a compressed period of time, according to Devlin-Foltz.
The realistic training helped the Marines realize their small-unit leadership training goals.
“It’s good training that the Marines don’t always get to do, especially being able to execute squad-level tactics of this type,” said Staff Sgt. Owen I. Wood, a platoon sergeant with the unit.
While most live-fire evolutions are centered on battalion, company or platoon-sized maneuvers, this training focused on squad-level operations, according to Wood.
The training allowed the company to foster small-unit leadership and work on ensuring readiness at the unit’s foundation.
“The opportunity to have our junior Marines hone their skills and our squad leaders and NCOs be able to practice leadership under pressure is invaluable,” said Wood. “It keeps us sharp and ready to accomplish any mission.”