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August 24, 2012

News

Marine unit makes extensive use of McCoy training facilities

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.
PHOTO: Marines practice platoon assault movement skills. Photo by Rob Schuette
Marines practice platoon assault movement skills on a Fort McCoy range. The Marines later conducted the same training in a live-fire mode.
(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.

PHOTO: Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, provides sustained suppression fire to support an assault. Photo by Lt. Col. David Owen
The 81mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, provides sustained suppression fire to support an assault.
(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 defensive positions.

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.”

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