|By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, a Reserve unit from Chicago,
met a number of their training objectives, including assault movements,
during two weeks of training in early August at Fort McCoy.
Maj. Eric Olson, a Marine instructor for the unit, said the 2nd, 24th
Marines provides trained combat personnel to augment and reinforce the
active component in times of war, national emergency, and at other times
as national security requires.
Marines practice platoon assault movement skills on a Fort McCoy
range. The Marines later conducted the same training in a
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
One of the unit’s objectives at Fort McCoy was to conduct a platoon
assault movement using infantry tactics, Olson said. The training
included maneuvers to close in on an enemy and destroy it with combined
arms fire. Training also included using mortar fire and other
crew-served weapons to support the assault and 12-hour squad patrol
missions. Olson said the Marines also conducted defensive position
training, small-unit leadership tactics, and road marches to various
locations, etc., during their training at Fort McCoy.
The unit, which includes companies from Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.,
uses training ranges at Fort McCoy throughout the year to support its
mission. The other companies are from Des Moines, Iowa, Chicago and Fort
Sheridan, Ill. Olson said the installation is about a two-hour drive
from Madison, compared to six to seven hours if the unit conducts its
training at other locations that can support its needs.
1st Lt. Pat Beckman, the first platoon commander from Golf Company of
the 2nd, 24th, said the training allowed his platoon to use combatants
to close and destroy an enemy force. Personnel also could use live fire
to engage the targets.
The 81mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th
Regiment, provides sustained suppression fire to support an
(Photo by Lt. Col. David Owen)
“Our training also included a three-day small-unit leadership
evaluation to help train leaders,” Beckman said. “It took squad or team
leaders and tested them on their leadership ability. The leaders had
three to four scenarios a day where they received operations orders and
had to execute missions.”
Platoon commanders also were given time to train with their platoons and
work on needed skills, he said. The unit also went to the installation’s
Live Fire Shoothouse to train on firing missions and clearing rooms.
Afterward, the units went into the field to set up company-sized
Lance Cpl. Dustin Wiskes, an infantryman, said the training in clearing
an urban environment was good because many military personnel currently
are deployed and conducting such missions.
“The exercise in assault training was good because it involved a lot of
coordination and seeing how things came together,” he said. “It’s
helpful to teach us the tactics with the combined arms, such as mortars,
we would use.”
Sgt. Calvin Zube, an infantryman and small-unit leader, said the
small-unit leadership exercise was valuable because it had various
stations where personnel learned the duties of those who filled the
higher-level positions in the command.
“It was a great way to teach us,” Zube said. “It gives the squad- and
team leaders a chance to manage their guys.”
Two weeks of training also can be more beneficial than the two days they
often drill get because it keeps them in a military mindset for a longer
time and helps them retain information better, Zube said.
Lt. Col. David S. Owen, 2nd, 24th inspector/instructor, said, “The
Marines and Sailors of 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment are one of
several ready battalions within the 4th Marine Division prepared to
mobilize this year should further crises arise around the globe. The
focus of Marine units in both the reserve-and active components remains
to be the most ready when the nation is the least ready.”