MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Nov. 10 is recognized widely across the Marine Corps as the day the Marine Corps was born 234 years ago.
While other Combat Center Marines were busy celebrating the birthday of the Corps with the day off, the Marines and sailors of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, were celebrating it by doing what Marines do best — putting rounds downrange.
Co. G staged at the Delta Prospect training area aboard the Combat Center to complete their final training with 1st Platoon, Company D, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, in preparation for their January deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from Okinawa, Japan.
The company did pause in their training, however, to honor the traditions of the Marine Corps Birthday and hold a company formation. In keeping with tradition, they read Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message and even had a cake-cutting ceremony — featuring a fudge brownie from a Meal-Ready-to-Eat and a pocket knife.
After observing their birthday, Co. G Marines and sailors continued their training. They spent Tuesday and Wednesday leading live-fire raids from their mock beach head, fending off ambushes and repeatedly overrunning the simulated town at Range 205.
The Marines and sailors from both 3rd AABn and 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, staged at the Delta Prospects, the ‘beach’ from which they launched endless raids by loading onto amphibious assault vehicles, or AAVs, and taking off to Range 205.
When the road to Range 205 narrowed and snaked between two sets of hills, the convoy of AAVs was forced to a halt because of obstacles in the roadway. As they began to clear the road, they were attacked by mock improvised explosive devices and indirect artillery fire.
This forced both the infantrymen and the AAVs to unload on the notional enemy with small arms fire, heavy machine guns and 60 mm mortars.
Once the enemy’s ambush was repelled and the roadway clear, the push to Range 205 was resumed.
Range 205 offered the Marines and sailors an opportunity to hone their skills in Military Operations in Urban Terrain tactics as they ran from building to building, cleared houses and diffused simulated booby traps.
The Marines are refining and sustaining the skills they learned from the Special Operations Training Group’s Mechanized Raid Course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., in October, said Capt. Marcelo B. Castro, the company commander of Co. G, 2nd Bn., 7th Marines.
Working side-by-side with Co. G was 1st Plt., Co. D with 3rd AABn, who are also slated to deploy with the 31st MEU in January.
“We’ve had the good fortune of deploying with a unit from Twentynine Palms,” said 1st Lt. James Smith, the 1st Plt. commander with Co. D, 3rd AABn. “Our platoon will support Golf Co. on the MEU, so to be able to train together here makes things a lot easier.”
He said his platoon began working with Co. G soon after the platoon’s return from Iraq in May, and the opportunity to practice together will allow them to work together more efficiently while on the MEU.
“Live-fire exercises like this allow us to practice our control and ensure we’ll be able to operate effectively as a team should the need arise,” Castro said.
While the training isn’t easy, the Marines and sailors refused to quit.
“We’re blessed with a fine group of Marines,” Smith said. “I’ve been challenging them every time we go to train and every time, they have risen to the challenge.”