MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines from both companies of the Combat Center’s Headquarters Battalion headed to the ranges to take on moving targets after a hike April 19, 2011.
The exercise was part of HQBN leadership efforts to expose their Marines to the combat and field-related training at least once a month.
The Marines who traditionally are in supporting roles in offices and have fewer chances to get to the field, jumped at the opportunity to fire rifles outside of a structured qualification course.
“I like getting out of the shop and do stuff like this,” said Cpl. Michael Haynes, of the Exercise Support Division. “It’s fun to just be out here, and it builds morale.”
The training day started for the Marines at 5 a.m. with a mile hike from the armory to Range 101. The quick pace and the extra weight of the gear was a welcome reminder to the Marines that “every Marine is a rifleman.”
The opportunity was a change of pace for the Marines from their daily combat support jobs.
The Marines of HQBN, mainly of whom mainly work behind a desks, said they relished the chance to be around their rifles again.
“I like being with my weapon, cleaning it, interacting with it, and just doing Marine stuff,” said Lance Cpl. Maxony Jean, an administrative clerk at the Installation Personnel Administration Center.
After zeroing in their sights they hiked their way to the second objective, Range 103.
“I like the hiking, even though its been a while since I’ve hiked. It was a little challenging,” Jean admitted.
Upon their arrival at Range 103, they prepped themselves for a small shooting competition.
“We’re here doing a cohesion shoot and engaging targets in four relays,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas Russi, the first sergeant for HQBN’s Company A. “It helps them get back to basic marksmanship skills and builds unit cohesion.”
The Marines divided into their relays, which became their teams for the competition.
After a practice round, the Marines were feeling more comfortable with their weapons.
At the end of the competition, which tested the Marines marksmanship skills using moving pop-up targets, the fourth relay came out victorious and owned the bragging rights of the day.
After a full day of hiking and shooting, the Marines returned to their sections with renewed spirits and appreciation for the rigors of daily life in a field training environment.