TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment are moving onto the next phase of their training at Integrated Training Exercise 1-16 as they prepare to start their company live-fire aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Oct. 26, 2015.
“Today we ran Range 401, which is used to run the company battle course,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Anderson, Executive Officer for Alpha Company. “What the attack consists of is the squad and platoon element while equipping the company with internal and external assets.”
Attached assets include the 81 mm mortars and snipers doing precision fire, while internal assets consist of 60 mm mortars, machine guns and rockets.
“Right now, making sure our guys are ready to roll when we deploy is the main objective,” said Cpl. Gabriel Boyrie, a squad leader with Alpha Company. “We need to react in an effective manner while confidently answering the call, allowing the company to exceed basic standards to ensure our readiness.”
The live-fire exercise is used as a final confirmation of the Marines’ ability to operate cohesively while integrating all assets to accomplish any mission.
“Seeing small-unit leaders make decisions is one of the coolest things. We constantly train and observe lance corporals to the sergeant level make it happen,” Anderson said. “They’re the ones on the deck running the battle drills, enabling the company to maneuver. That’s what being a leader is all about.”
Throughout the duration of the company live-fire, staff with Tactical Training Exercise Control Group assessed the entire range and evaluated Marines’ decisions, leadership and on how the exercise was executed.
“From the start, moving was good, we got dispersion. Communication was being passed and integrated into the training,” Boyrie said. “We do squad and platoon attacks, but really it’s bringing everyone out here to Twentynine Palms and making sure we get familiarized and used to dealing with unfamiliar terrain.”
Twentynine Palms offers Marines a completely different training environment than from what they are used to at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“We are able to work with the staff here and extract the maximum amount of training we can due to the flexibility of operating at ranges here,” said Anderson.
Following the company attack, 1/8 prepares to execute the battalion assault course as the culminating event for ITX 1-16.
“The unit is building towards a battalion mechanized assault after today,” said Anderson. “Down the road, the experience will be utilized for conducting training with host nations and showing them how we operate.”