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Students with the Infantry Officers’ Course charge from trench to trench during a live-fire training exercise at Range 410A March 15, 2012. The Combat Center is the last stop for this group of Marines during their training to officially become infantry officers.

Photo by Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Warriors in the making (Part 2)

30 Mar 2012 | By Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

The lieutenants of the Infantry Officers’ Course tackled Range 410A and developed their skills at assaulting entrenched positions March 17, 2012.

While this training is common for infantrymen, the lieutenants of IOC confronted the training with unique conditions.

When they used live ammunition to clear the trenches they also used live fragmentation grenades which have a kill radius of 5 meters and casualty radius of 15 meters. When the students assaulted the range at night, they did not have the luxury of flares to aid with illumination.

“We are one of the only units that use live frags during the day and doesn’t use illumination at night,” said Capt. Christopher J. Amelia, class advisor, IOC. “Not too many units can perform non-illuminated reduction strong points at the platoon level, so it is rather a special thing for them to do and build confidence in their skill and capabilities.”

The class started their day with a dry-fire run first to make sure communication and fields of fire were understood before breaking out the live ammunition.

“We looked for friction between the squads and identified things that can go wrong,” said 2nd Lt. Jordan Ames, student, IOC.

Having the students skilled at self-evaluations and self-corrections is an important factor for success when they lead Marines into battle.

“One of the critical elements of being an infantry officer is being able to self-evaluate your unit and yourself,” Amelia said. “You go through the actual execution, working to make it better and finding what might be making it worse.”

The students noticed the similarities with other close quarter engagements and incorporated some of those lessons into the exercise.

“The biggest difference is you are using a hand grenade around every corner,”Amelia said.

During the live fire, the instructors brought the experience closer to reality by having a few of the Marines to act as simulated casualties.

“Dealing with a casualty in combat is something most of these guys will experience. So it is important to replicate that here,” Amelia said. “For them to go through the decision points and to actually carry out the plan to make sure the casualty gets the next echelon of care is a very important ability of an infantry officer.”

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