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Students with the Infantry Officer Course, based out of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., fire off a 60mm mortar Dec. 10, 2010, during one of their platoon-sized mechanized attacks aboard the Combat Center. The IOC culminates its training by operating at the Combat Center before graduating back in Quantico.

Photo by Cpl. M. C. Nerl

IOC travels to Combat Center for final test

17 Dec 2010 | Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Aspiring infantry officers with the Infantry Officer Course based out of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., culminated their course at the Combat Center Dec. 14 before returning to Quantico for their graduation.

The students capped off their training here through counter-insurgency operations and day and night mechanized and reinforced attacks, along with multiple other areas of training, said Capt. Charles Nash, the class advisor for IOC class 1-11.

“Our ability to fire with combined arms here allows us to bring everything we have instructed them on together into one range,” the Stafford, Va., native, said after their final night attack Dec. 10. “By the time they graduate on the seventeenth, they’ll have the whole staff’s absolute confidence in their ability to lead as platoon commanders.”

Nash added the group’s experiences here will certainly be of assistance in the future.

“Training at Twentynine Palms is an excellent example of what they’ll be facing in the future as platoon commanders,” Nash said. “Most, if not all of them will be back [aboard the Combat Center] for Mojave Viper within the next year anyway, so they know what to expect.”

The class is one of four that come to the installation each year, Nash added. Second Lt. Paul Harper, a student with the Infantry Officer Course, said the Combat Center is a premier training installation, and he will value the lessons learned here.

“It’s pretty much the destiny of every grunt, enlisted or officer, to wind up at Twentynine Palms,” said the Warrenton, Va., native. “But in all reality, the training and instruction we’ve had here have been absolutely outstanding. The Marine Corps needs places like this, and it sure utilizes the space properly and efficiently.”

Another student, 2nd Lt. Giles Royster, said using the weapons and commanding and maneuvering training in real life is invaluable for the IOC students.

“The most crucial part of all this, I think, is that we don’t just know what the weapons are, or how they work, but how to maneuver with them and what the Marines dropping rounds over other’s heads or supporting with machine guns are feeling and experiencing,” the Atlanta native, said.

Following their time at the Combat Center, the students are scheduled to graduate today, and report to their new units immediately after, where they will take command of their first platoons.

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