MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
If you don’t move, you die.
The most basic tactical maneuver in warfare is also the most essential. Communication and suppressive fire are what enables movement on the battlefield, giving Marines the upper hand.
These are the tactics Marines from companies I and K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, put into practice during buddy rush and fire team rush training July 28 at the Combat Center’s ranges 1A and 105A.
The Marines learned the basics of fire and maneuver by remediating rushes. Co. K Marines began by supporting single Marine rushes, whereas Co. I focused on fire teams moving and supporting one another by providing cover fire and communicating on the move.
Co. K is currently at the beginning of the building-block style of training for their next deployment, which is vital to their progression from maneuvering as individuals to an entire battalion, said Staff Sgt. Anthony Czerwinski, a Platoon sergeant with 2nd platoon, Co. K, 3/7.
“It’s important to train like this to build our basic skills,” Czerwinski, a native of Cleveland, said. “They learn to build on their skills and how to take things to the next level by learning the beginning and moving up to and remediating at the battalion level in [Enhanced] Mojave Viper.”
Lance Cpl. Gilbert Andrade, a rifleman with Co. K, and a native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., said he knows from experience the training is too important to over-look, even at early stages, because of what it means to them in battle.
“This is what goes into a conventional war,” he said. “When we know how to move, shoot and communicate, we can stop anyone, or take out any target.”
Andrade said the significance of starting with the individual Marine is what makes them better as a whole when the company goes to the next level.
“If you can’t coordinate, move, shoot and do whatever else is needed between two Marines, then your company is going to work about as well as a three-legged chair,” he said. “For us to progress, we’re going to need to get the other [privates first class] and lance corporals up to speed on what goes on in the fleet. This is not SOI [the school of infantry] anymore. This is the real world.”
Co. I was taking a different approach, but they were in a slightly different stage in their progression, said 1st Sgt. Charles Metzger, the company first sergeant, and a native of Kansas City, Kan.
“We started at the ground level, but now we’ve got Marines working on the next step, which is buddy teams,” Metzger said. “We’re just doing a traditional build-up exercise to fire and move, and eliminate the enemy.”
He said the training is beneficial to the younger Marines who are coming straight from their school house.
“We’re working a lot with our fresh school drops from SOI,” he said. “The new guys we have don’t know everything or just don’t have any experience yet.”
Marines who are new to the company and who have not yet deployed recognized they had much to improve before going overseas.
“It’s not the learning, it’s the coordination and movement that’s tough,” said Pfc. Ronald Sullivan, a rifleman with Co. I, and a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. “It’s hard dealing with the heat, but that’s how Iraq and Afghanistan are.”
With their training progressing, the battalion will continue to work as the rest of 7th Marines and the Marine Corps continue to prepare themselves for possible deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.