MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines of Company D, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, trained the light armored vehicle scouts and crewmen to seamlessly integrate in battle at Combat Center Range 410 June 9-11.
Dragoons ran the range over and over again, practicing their trench-clearing and fire-suppression tactics day and night, scorching heat and deafening wind to become better scouts and LAV crewmen, said Capt. Michael Simon, the company’s commander, and a native of North Canton, Ohio.
“When doing a range like this, we look to make sure we do the basics correctly and efficiently from the [private first class] up to the leadership,” Simon said. “What we’re going for is fluid integration of our LAV-25s and their organic scouts, which is a difficult skill to master.”
Simon said his Marines performed to his expectation, but now he’s pushing them to go farther.
“Overall I think they did pretty well,” Simon said. “All the Marines worked very hard, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Simon said the Marines’ hard work and diligence has helped them achieve more solid unit cohesion.
“Running this range is just like everything else,” he said. “To do it well you need sound procedures, quality [non-commissioned officer supervision and realistic, aggressive rehearsals.”
Lance Cpl. Steven Simms, a senior LAV crewman in the company, the lessons they learned on the range will help everyone, especially less-experienced Marines.
“This is good training, especially for the scouts,” said the Fairview, Tenn., native. “It helps the crewmen brush up as well. We always try to use our down time to educate the new guys.
“We’re always stressing gear accountability and to always be aware of what they’re doing,” he said. “I always make sure they’re in a learning state of mind so they get as much out of it as possible for their own good.”
Lance Cpl. Anthony Sgarlata, a mortarman attached to the company, said he learned a lot about another military occupational specialty and gained some valuable experience.
“I’m not even a scout,” said the Orange County, Calif., native. “Just doing this over the past couple of days I’ve learned a lot about being a scout. I’ve never cleared a trench before, which I guess is going to help out a lot when we’re in country.”
The battalion will continue to train through the coming months until their deployment this fall in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.