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Lance Cpl. Kristofer Simmons, a fire team leader with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, throws a practice hand grenade into the kill zone of a simulated vehicle during a Tactical Small Unit Leaders Course on Range 105A aboard the Combat Center March 10 through March 19. TSULC focuses on training team leaders with every weapon system they will use on patrols in a combat environment.

Photo by Cpl. Margaret Hughes

Team leaders train for next combat rotation

13 Mar 2009 | Cpl. Margaret Hughes

Team leaders with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment are preparing for their next combat deployment with the Tactical Small Unit Leaders Course on Range 105A aboard the Combat Center March 10 through March 19.

TSULC focuses on training team leaders with every weapon system they will use on patrols in a combat environment, said Staff Sgt. Brian Fairchild, the company gunnery sergeant for 2/7’s Company E. 

This is the first training exercise for the battalion’s noncommissioned officers and other junior enlisted Marines as they begin work-ups for their next scheduled combat deployment in September, said Staff Sgt. Stephen Schrepfer, the assistant staff noncommissioned officer in charge for 2/7’s support deck.

“The goal of this training is for Marines to be confident and capable fire team leaders,” Fairchild said. “Team leaders must be proficient in all weapon systems so they can teach and train their younger Marines for combat.”

The training is broken down into three main stages. The Marines progress through these stages and ultimately learn to work effectively as a fire team, Fairchild said.

In the first stage, each student learned about the weapon systems they will utilize in combat.  These include the M16A2 service rifle with rifle combat optic, M249 squad automatic weapon, AT4 anti-armor weapon, M203 grenade launcher and hand grenades.

The Marines then learned the characteristics of each weapon, such as, minimum and maximum effective range, firing and positions, and other pertinent information.  After learning the information they were taught how to fire each weapon in various positions.

Marines training on the AT4 were taught about the weapon’s capability and its importance in combat.

“Any rifleman can carry it,” said 2nd Lt. Mitchell Steen, the Company E platoon commander.  “The AT4 can immobilize a tank, but it is catastrophic for a light-skinned vehicle.”

After the students learned individual training standards, they moved on to combined training tasks, Fairchild said.  They each employed different weapons to eliminate the target.

“This is when they learn to bring it all together,” Fairchild said.

The final stage of the training exercise will combine everything they have learned, and have them attack simulated targets as a complete fire team, Fairchild said.  The skills learned during the course are the building blocks to be successful in combat.


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