Locate, Close With, and Destroy the Enemy

29 Jul 2020 | Lance Cpl. Reine Whitaker II Marine Expeditionary Force

Blazing sun, humidity, and the sounds of Marines training fill the mornings from July 8 until July 31, 2020 as Marines with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division conduct a deployment for training in preparation for combat to ensure the battalion’s combat effectiveness as the Forward Deployed Battalion in support of Major Combat Operations around the globe.

“The DFT allows the Marines to get out of their home station and away from some distractions,” said 1st Lt. Alec Barrowcliff, the executive officer with Company E. “It gives them the chance to focus on infantry related tasks preparing them for an extended deployment.”

The month-long exercise started with an individual skills phase during a battle sight zero and grenade range, progressing into a squad phase consisting of unsupported-fire and supported-fire attacks, a land navigation phase that will move into unsupported-fire and supported-fire night attacks.

“Coming out to A.P. Hill, the Marines are learning a lot faster than they would in Camp Lejeune,” said Sgt. Anthony Olcott, a squad leader with Company E. “The training they are getting out here is more beneficial and realistic for them than buddy rushing for 20 meters outside their barracks.”

As the Marines conduct the DFT they are experiencing new and different terrain than what they are familiar with, Olcott said. A.P. Hill offers a different set of ranges the Marines have not seen before, giving them an opportunity to expand their combat mindset and creativity.

The DFT is a preparation for exercise Deep Water where the Marines with V22 will be air-inserted into Camp Lejeune conducting squad and platoon attacks, Barrowcliff said. “This will allow the Marines to get into the mindset of a large-scale assault.”