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Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, stack up and wait as a breech is prepared at the Combat Center’s Range 410A Nov. 19. The company undertook platoon-level exercises as part of its pre deployment training process.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl

Marines stomp through Combat Center assault course

25 Nov 2009 | Lance Cpl. M.C. Nerl

Marines and sailors with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, known as the Cutting Edge, stormed the Combat Center’s Range 410A Nov. 19, to prepare for a possible deployment next year.

“The Cutting Edge” was at the range seeking to improve their platoons’ abilities to shoot, move and communicate as a build-up to their next deployment, said 2nd Lt. Joshua Waddell, a platoon commander with the company and a native of Virginia Beach, Va.

The company began by breaching concertina wire and then assaulting on an enemy strong point using suppressive fire from mortars, hand grenades and small-arms fire from individual Marines as they took multiple enemy positions, Waddell said.

“This is the culmination of small unit action,” Waddell said. “We’ve worked our way up to a platoon-level attack on a Soviet-style strong point. We’ve been practically living in the field – training and advancing from individual and buddy team levels to the squad level. Now we’re at the platoon level of a combined arms attack.”

Waddell said his Marines gain a better understanding of how to coordinate with others and use their resources to take on an enemy stronghold.

“The Marines learn a lot about how to combine adjacent units and other weapons systems,” he said. “They’ve come to the point where they can effectively conduct a fluid planned assault on an enemy position and they’re growing as a team.”

Waddell said his Marines show better assurance in their abilities, and of their fellow warriors thanks to this training.

“All our training is paying off,” he said. “They have more confidence in each other and in their leadership.

“They can conduct a combined arms exercise very efficiently,” he continued. “They’ve learned a great deal about how a Marine air-ground combat team functions, and they’re able to employ all their weapons assets very well.”

Waddell said the weapons being used by his Marines are giving them a better grasp of what they will experience in an operational environment overseas.

“Doing these exercises has taught them to use mutual support and help one another in accomplishing a mission,” he said. “Plus, they’re getting to throw explosives. Any Marine can enjoy doing that.”

Several Marines agreed with Waddell.

“We’re building ourselves up rapidly as a team,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Ryan Maroney, a rifleman with the company, and a native of Pueblo, Colo. “Exercises like this are essential in fine-tuning those of us who have done it before, and especially for the younger guys who haven’t done it more than once or twice.”

Pfc. Rick Waithers, another rifleman with the company, said he could see the difference in himself and his platoon after they took part in the training.

“It’s an awesome feeling to be part of something that moves, shoots and communicates that efficiently,” said the Cleveland native. “You never get to see the big picture being just one guy with a rifle, but the whole time you’re charging out there, you know there are mortars, machine guns, air and artillery all at your back to make sure the enemy gets what they have coming. It’s a good feeling to be on the side with all the power and know-how.”

“The Cutting Edge” does not know when they will deploy, but they are keeping their bayonets sharp to be ready to take the fight to the enemy.

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