Fort McCoy News June 28, 2013

Ranges meet needs for Marine Infantry unit

STORY & PHOTOS BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

Marine Reserve Infantry personnel used high-tech ranges and other training areas at Fort McCoy to help them meet their training requirements, said Capt. Jason Smedley, the commander of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines (3rd, 23rd Marines) from Little Rock, Ark.

The focus of the training was squad-level tactics, Smedley said.

The Marines, which also included Reserves from Lima Company, 3rd, 23rd Marines, trained at Fort McCoy June 15-29.

PHOTO for Marines story
Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines train with various weapons at a Fort McCoy range.

"We came to Fort McCoy because it could meet all of our training needs," Smedley said. "We employed our weapons systems with fire and movement and fire and maneuver."

The Marines also conducted land navigation training, went to Range 6 for squad live-fire training and went through an internal squad leader course on offensive and defensive operations.

1st Sgt. Henry Moore of India Company said the training also included having all squads in competition within the company.

"We used the training to help establish the best squad (and encourage the Marines to do their best)," Moore said. "The range areas also were (free from distractions), which helped the Marines to concentrate on training."

Smedley said the training at Fort McCoy helped bring together a unique assortment of personnel, which included college students, self-employed business owners, police, law enforcement and government employees.

Lance Cpl. Landon Marshall, a rifleman for India Company, said the training ranges/facilities at Fort McCoy offered an open, clear area with nice weather that encouraged unit members to train hard.

"I was a team leader in the land-navigation training," Marshall said. "The hills and terrain were challenging, but we were motivated."

Lance Cpl. Dylan Hamby, an M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle gunner for India Company, said the pop-up targets provided realistic training.

PHOTO 2 for Marine story
Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines from Little Rock, Ark., take a break from weapons firing to eat lunch and prepare for the next task during their training at Fort McCoy.

"I also liked the land navigation because it takes skill and teamwork to succeed," Hamby said. "Everyone is involved. It's not just one person doing the work."

Lance Cpl. Michael Freeman, a machine gunner for India Company, said the Fort McCoy firing ranges were very efficient and encouraged the Marines to conduct hard training.

"One of this company's goals is to 'train like you fight.'" Freeman said. "We train as hard as we can whenever and wherever we train."

If the Marines from the unit are deployed, they will know first-hand what they have to do to successfully accomplish their mission, he said.

The unit's leadership also stresses assuming accountability and taking the initiative to train hard, in addition to training like they fight, he said.

In addition, this training built the unit's esprit de corps and helped unit members accomplish their mission.

Unit members follow these mantras at all times, he said.