By Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conducted a series of exercises at Noble Pass and Delta training areas Aug. 23, as part of the unit’s squad certifications.
The week-long squad certifications reinforced the squad-sized units in their tactical skills and efficiency in a combat scenario.
“We’re training to be an aggressive unit,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Miller, battalion sergeant major, 3/4. “We’re using a crawl, walk, run method. Marines are learning what they’re supposed to be doing and, coming from the other side, we have them getting these good critiques by the Staff NCO (Noncommissioned Officers) and officers.”
Each company was divided into separate training areas, conducting different exercises, rotating through the training areas during the following days. These exercises tested Marines on a spectrum of infantry skills. They were evaluated on their abilities to react to contact with the enemy.
Squad leaders were kept under a thoroughly, watchful eye as they were challenged to lead their Marines and accomplish their mission.
“It’s a heavy responsibility,” said Lance Cpl. Moses D. Munoz, squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3/4. “You want to always be a leader who can lead from the front and I’ll never give my Marines a command I wouldn’t be willing to follow.”
Munoz led his squad through multiple rounds of squad sized attacks on a known machine gun bunker. The Marines collaborated a support by fire position with an assault element to advance to and eliminate their objective.
The Marines were able to complete the course with great efficiency by using fire and maneuver as well as the use of an AT-4 and Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon.
“We have a saying,” Munoz said after finishing the exercise. “The more you sweat here, the less you bleed in war.”
Co. L Marines navigated their way through an improvised explosive device course at Noble Pass training area. The course was filled with multiple simulated IEDs.
The Marines used sweeping techniques to move through the course. They took careful steps through the rocky passage and kept a sharp eye out for any possible clues that could lead to discovery of a possible IED.
The course emphasized both how to spot IEDs and how to react to one once it’s been found.
The Marines were instructed to follow the route the enemy wouldn’t expect them to take and if they found an enemy device, to use the terrain to their advantage and put something between themselves and the IED.
The ‘Thundering Third’ also received combat life saving classes and an alternative method of locating potential terrorists in addition to their time running through squad-sized attacks and IED courses.
Former law enforcement authorities with experience in criminal networking organizations, which have a strong resemblance to terrorist networks of the current enemy networks such as the Taliban, taught Marines proper searching procedures and handling of evidence.
These procedures have been proven to uncover individuals in terrorist organizations and helped save lives just by the uncovering of a data storage device or logging of a fingerprint.
The skills acquired through the squad certifications are essential in the squad-sized units. Greater proficiency in these skills, as well as the squad leader’s ability to lead his Marines, conveys greater effectiveness of the platoon and company-sized elements.
“3rd Battalion, 4th Marines has a long line of illustrious individuals,” said Miller. “And these Marines have been doing outstanding.”
The Marines proved themselves to be skilled in their abilities as infantrymen, leaders and as a team with the completion of their squad certification, Saturday.