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Cpl. Kyle Blades, team leader, 1st squad, 2nd platoon, Fox Company, 2/24, provides covering fire for Lance Cpl. Matt Shimon, SAW gunner, 2nd platoon, Fox Company, 2/24, while he reloads his weapon.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Nicholas M. Dunn

2/24 takes on Mojave Viper DAC

7 Dec 2007 | Lance Cpl. Nicholas M. Dunn

The Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, completed the Deliberate Assault Course at Combat Center Range 210 Dec. 5-7.

 The DAC brought 2/24 to their halfway point in the 30-day Mojave Viper training evolution.

 Fox Company, 2/24, ran through the DAC Dec. 6. Echo Company had completed the course the day prior. Golf Company would go the following day.

 The assault began at approximately 8:30 a.m. with a combined assault from aircraft, mortars and artillery. During the bombardment, Fox Company staged a safe distance away in seven-ton trucks and amphibious assault vehicles, and waited for the order to “enter the breach.”

 Once the bombardment was complete, Fox Company moved into position to capture their objective. They dismounted their vehicles and immediately established a line of fire. The Marines and sailors moved by rifle squads, advancing on the bunkers they were assigned to destroy by the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group coyotes.

 While capturing this objective, the coyotes picked out Marines to be mock casualties to add adversity to the simulation. Several Marines and sailors were diverted to the aid and litter team to treat the casualties and load them onto vehicles or further medical aid.

 Once the first objective was taken, Fox Company loaded back onto their respective vehicles and moved to Range 210 to capture their final objective, a Military Operations on Urban Terrain town.

 From the second Fox Company dismounted, they began sweeping through the MOUT town, clearing the first few buildings quickly and efficiently. Once they established a foothold, they began to move up through the rest of the town, supported by tanks and AAVs.

 Several obstacles were put in place by the TTECG coyotes while Fox Company assaulted the town. Pop-up targets and select buildings housing enemy combatants added a sense of realism to what the Marines and sailors may encounter in combat. These obstacles slowed Fox Company down a little, but did not stop their advance through the town.

 During the onslaught, more Marines were designated as casualties. As before, Fox Company had to divert assets to assist the casualties. AAVs were called up to the frontline to load the casualties and take them back safely to the rear of the town for treatment.

 After a half-hour battle, Fox Company neutralized all threats and captured the MOUT town at Range 210. Capturing the town signified the end of the Deliberate Assault Course.

 Overall, it seemed Fox Company came together well and was able to successfully complete this portion of their training.

 “You guys did a good job today,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy P. Ledbetter, TTECG coyote. “The DAC is not designed to be run perfectly, but you guys will learn a lot more before Mojave Viper is over.”

 Ledbetter was responsible for 2nd platoon’s debrief after Fox Company completed the DAC. He highlighted a few mistakes that were made, but still commended the platoon on a job well done.

 At the end of the brief, Ledbetter left 2nd platoon with some knowledge for the rest of Mojave Viper and their upcoming deployment.

 “Remember to fire and maneuver,” he said. “Maneuver without fire is suicide. Fire without maneuver is a waste of rounds.”

 The Marines and sailors of Fox Company seemed to feel like they learned a lot from their training and will continue to gain knowledge through the rest of Mojave Viper.

 “It’s good training,” said Cpl. Jason Blevins, 1st squad leader, 2nd platoon, Fox Company, 2/24. “It enables young Marines to see an overall picture of what a battalion-size operation in combat looks like.”

 Blevins said he’s seen a lot of this before. This being his third deployment, he feels the training will help him and his junior Marines accomplish their mission when they deploy to Iraq.

 Other Fox Company Marines feel the same way as Blevins. Even though they have experienced similar training in the past, they feel the DAC and Mojave Viper will further prepare them for their deployment.

 “Mojave Viper is good training, but at the same time, I’m not having much difficulty with it,” said Lance Cpl. Dan Schramm, squad automatic weapon gunner, 1st squad, 2nd platoon, Fox Company, 2/24. “I’ve been in for five years now and this is probably the best range I’ve ever run through. There’s a lot of moving parts.”

 The Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, will continue their Mojave Viper training, completing their final exercise Dec. 20. Following Mojave Viper, they will go on block leave for the holidays. Their unit will deploy to Iraq from the Combat Center in January 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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