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1st Marine Division

1st Marine Division

Camp Pendleton, CA
Fire teams display brilliance at the basics

By Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly | | November 3, 2009

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- class=MsoNormal style="line-height:normal">

Infantrymen with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment got back to the basics during fire team attacks, Oct. 28.

The training laid a foundation by preparing them for how to react in combat. That foundation is built upon team-proficiency, trust and leadership, said Sgt. Josue A. Zapata, the machine gun section leader for Weapons Co.

“Everyone has to be able to do the basic job,” said Zapata. “It is about brilliance at the basics.”

The battalion, which returned in August from a deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, uses weekly training to integrate new Marines and become proficient as fire teams, said Zapata, from McAllen, Texas.

“When we don’t do something like fire team attacks for a while, it is good to practice it so it becomes muscle memory,” said Lance Cpl. Guillermo M. Martinez, a squad leader with Weapons Co.

Incorporating the junior Marines into fire teams allows them to learn from their superiors. It also gives senior Marines the opportunity to develop leadership skills.

“It helps senior Marines because it makes us better and allows the junior Marines to observe what kind of leaders we are,” said Martinez, from Covina, Calif. “If you make a mistake as a leader and correct yourself, it builds trust within the fire team.”

The trust goes deeper than knowing that their fire team leader is a strong leader. It means that they know the other members of their fire team and trust them as well.

“Repetitive drills like this one allow you to know how your fellow Marines will act,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Madura, an assaultman with Weapons Co., from Reno, Nev. “By the time we deploy, that trust and understanding will allow us to function without as many verbal commands.”

The battalion plans to achieve proficiency, trust and improve leadership in fire teams through drills such as this one.

“Marines going to Afghanistan need to know how their fire teams work and know each other as one,” said Martinez.

As 1st Bn., 1st Marines prepares for up-coming deployments to Afghanistan, each infantryman will know that the Marine to his left and right will have his back because of training like this.


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