CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The sound of gunfire cracks through the air as the machine gun unloads, suppressing the simulated enemy as the Marines advance on the objective. Focused on the goal, they move quickly across the terrain, maintaining cover to avoid casualties as they draw steadily closer to their goal.
Marines with Bravo Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, performed a fire and maneuver exercise at a live fire range aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 6, 2015.
“This whole week we’ve been working on our fire [maneuver] and platoon-size assaults on a company objective,” said Sgt. Christian Sampson, a combat engineer with B Co. “Today we assaulted a company objective using three squads working together to collectively attack, breech and occupy the target.”
The day’s simulation was built around Marines on a patrol and experiencing an attack from enemy combatants. After taking cover, the teams began to move forward while alternating covering fire to suppress the enemy.
“We were hit by contact and assaulted through a couple hundred meters of terrain,” said Cpl. Bryan Hodges, a combat engineer with the company. “There was an obstacle in our way that we needed to mechanically breech before sending two assault teams to clear out the entrenched enemy. After that, we set up a defense until the end of the operation.”
Although the Marines are combat engineers, they continue to sharpen their combat skills in order to maintain a more cohesive role with the infantry units they may be attached to while deployed, said Hodges.
“These are infantry skills,” Hodges said. “Even though we are engineers, we have to know the basics of infantry to help work with them if we have to be attached to one of their units. Not having the same basic skills as infantry is like walking into a foreign country and just expecting to speak the same language.”
Training together served to better prepare the Marines to work in a combat zone as well as improve their cohesion and efficiency, according to Hodges.
“Live-fire maneuver is dangerous,” Hodges said. “Going through that type of danger together, it helps to show we’re looking out for each other and we learn to depend on our Marines.”