MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Sand, rock, and the smell of gun powder fill the air as machine gun rounds fired down range. This exercise was utilized to simulate marines suppressing enemy forces and providing cover for squads advancing toward training objectives.
Company B, 1st battalion, 8th Marine Regiment conducted live-fire drills on range 410 in a platoon-level fire and maneuver training exercise Oct. 29.
“This range is ultimately designed to teach Marines that they can shoot near each other and have the confidence in each other that they won't hit one another,” said Staff Sgt. Donald Vaughn, platoon sergeant, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
The exercise consisted of platoon-sized attacks on three objectives with support from M249 machine guns, mortar teams, and combat engineers. The platoons had to capture the objectives and breach at a designated location while pushing back a simulated enemy assault.
“The exercise helps out a lot because they can actually see what their piece of the pie is in the operation and execute it,” said Lance Cpl. Rob Hearn, team leader, 1st Platoon, Company B, 1/8.
The unit was evaluated on their fire and maneuver through the objectives and obstacles throughout each run, which took approximately 45 minutes per platoon. The live-fire exercise made Each platoon work within their squads and support groups to fulfill a role in order to complete the scenario successfully.
“No matter what, you still have to take the objective and know that the marine to your left and your right is there to support you,” Vaughn said.
Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, are scheduled to conduct training exercises on base for one month. Company B will be completing it's platoon-level exercises this week. Throughout the month, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group Marines will evaluate the unit's effectiveness in a variety of scenarios until its conclusion in mid-November.