MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps midshipmen from all around the country learned basic mountaineering skills Sunday at Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., as part of their mountain warfare training.
The midshipmen learned how to survive in the wilderness and navigate mountainous terrain, which included crossing streams, said Maj. Matt Ganley, a Marine officer instructor from Tucson, Ariz.
“The stream crossing and survival classes are part of what we’re doing here for the 10 days we have,” Ganley said. “We’re doing additional training on top of that to get the students more acquainted to real training in the Marine Corps.
“The students are going to do day and night land navigation, rappelling, top roping, terrain appreciation movements and hiking through the mountains,” he said.
Ganley said the midshipmen come from all over the country and generally do not have the opportunity to experience this type of training environment.
“They’re going to get a great understanding from their training,” he said. “They’ll have a good grasp for how training evolutions function, and gain a better grasp for the Marine Corps’ training philosophies.”
The midshipmen seemed to understand the value of the knowledge and enjoy the training, despite some of the obvious challenges.
“The hump up here was tough with the thin air and hills,” said Midshipman Sam Daniels, a native of Indianapolis. “I’ve never been to Afghanistan before, but I bet this place is as close as it gets to over there. When I’m a lieutenant I can’t wait to bring my Marines up here.”
The instructors who trained the midshipmen also felt they were providing a valuable and rewarding service to their guests.
“These people are all college kids,” said Cpl. Justin Bystrom, a Unit Training Group instructor at MWTC, and a native of Denver. “They don’t know much about the Marine Corps yet, especially practical things all Marines need to know.
“They may read a book or two on the Marine Corps in college, or get classes at [Virginia Military Institute] but here they’re going to get some real life lessons on what happens in the Marine Corps, and how we actually train,” he said. “It’s good to know that I’ll be able to make sure one of these guys, who might end up being my future platoon commander, learns something.”
After more than a week of mountain warfare training, the midshipmen will return to their respective colleges with new knowledge of modern Marine Corps training and tactics.