[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    August 14, 2009
Training

Marine light infantry unit comes to installation to train for next mission

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

With their focus on Iraq missions winding down, members of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines (2nd, 24th), conducted an annual training (Extended Combat Training) session at Fort McCoy to begin working on skills they will need for future missions.

Photo: Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines train on urban combat tactics during a scenario at Fort McCoy’s Mulitipurpose Urban Training Site-North as part of their annual training at the installation. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines train on urban combat tactics during a scenario at Fort McCoy’s Multipurpose Urban Training Site-North as part of their annual training at the installation. (Photo by Rob Schuette)   

Capt. Solon McGill, the commander of the Golf Company, 2nd, 24th Marines, said the light infantry unit spent its training at the installation working on traditional guerilla warfare and other tactics they may need in their next contingency mission.

"Most of our personnel have served at least one tour in Iraq, and the majority of the leadership has two tours there, with the last tour ending in August (2008)," McGill said. "As we move away from our Iraq focus, we’re training on things we learned in Iraq that we can build upon and refreshing and refocusing on other skills we’ll need to get ready for a variety of potential contingencies."

The Marines did land navigation and night-vision goggles training, he said. Then they conducted a three-day mission at the Fort McCoy Offense/Defense facility and Multipurpose Urban Training Site-North facilities to train on a moderate threat in an urban environment.

At the same time, they were out in several training areas training on tactics they would use in a remote or wooded area, he said.

The training also included weapons firing and qualification.

"We come to train at Fort McCoy because it is the closest facility that has a good variety of ranges and is accessible to the training we need," McGill said. "It has both live-fire and non live-fire training opportunities."

Photo: Marines conduct a walk-through of the urban combat training scenario. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Marines conduct a walk-through of the urban combat training scenario. (Photo by Rob Schuette) 

Lance Cpl. Joshua Rose of Golf Company of the 2nd, 24th said the Marines share the knowledge they have learned from preparing for previous deployments and service in Iraq, such as house-to-house combat and close-quarters tactics.

"Fort McCoy has hills and mountainous terrain and urban training areas that are similar to what we would encounter in Afghanistan," Rose said.

Cpl. Jake Edwards of Golf Company of the 2nd, 24th said many of the junior enlisted Marines had served in at least the prior deployment the unit conducted in Iraq in 2008.

"We’re rehoning our skills in conventional warfare out in open and wooded areas, as well as brushing up on our urban environment skills," Edwards said. "I haven’t had much on conventional warfare skills since I was in the School of Infantry, which is similar to the Advanced Individual Training Soldiers attend (after the initial basic combat training)."

McGill said many Marines in the unit also have gone beyond the basic Arabic language skills offered to get a more in-depth knowledge of the language and culture through military or civilian training, such as in a college course.

Edwards and Rose said the additional training has helped the unit Marines foster better relations with the local population during their tours in Iraq.

Unit members are on the lookout for other such training opportunities that can support and enhance any future missions they might receive, they said.

"Fort McCoy supports our mission by offering a little bit of everything that a company-sized unit can train on," Edwards said. "It also offers opportunities for each squad to work on specific tactics.

 

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