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Afghanistan-bound battalion conducts platoon hasty attack

6 Mar 2008 | Cpl. Ray Lewis

Give a Marine some bullets, a bunker and his buddies and he’s ready for business.

 Marines of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment proved they were more than ready during a platoon hasty attack at Range 410A here March 6.

 It was one of many evolutions part of Mojave Viper — the Corps' premier pre-deployment desert training.

 “It’s a big adrenaline rush … moving, shooting, possible enemy and stuff like that,” said Lance Cpl. Carl S. Troje, 21, a rifleman who will soon deploy with his unit to Afghanistan.

 The rocky range has everything from pop-up targets to plastic mannequins tucked away in one of California’s most mountainous areas.

 “Its good training,” said Sgt. Chris R. Paradis, 21, squad leader. “It teaches junior Marines the tactics as far as fire and maneuver. It gives all the team leaders a chance to work with their teams and coordinate with other teams in their squad.”

 Paradis also thinks it gives squad leaders a chance to work with other squads as a whole platoon for a platoon supported attack.

 “It builds confidence in everybody and shows them what a platoon is capable of doing,” said Paradis, from Medford, Ore.

 And capable they were. The Marines took enemy fighting positions and entrenched areas while maneuvering with the suppressive fire their buddies provided from above on a high hilltop.

 Much of the work was done by the junior Marines.

 “They’re finally listening,” said Troje of Farmington, Minn. “They’re finally doing stuff on their own. Feels pretty good; I’m a lot more confident now. I don’t have to constantly look over my shoulder.”

 The junior Marines have made huge headway, considering their infantry training was intervened by the 2007 Southern California wildfires, said Cpl. James P. Flores, 22, acting squad leader.

 “They’ve drastically improved from the first ranges they’ve ran,” said Flores, from Thousand Oaks, Calif. “They know their weapons systems and their roles. I’m confident in their abilities and obviously that’s a huge factor in our success over there.”

 When the Marines finish Mojave Viper, they will begin their mission of supporting the Afghan National Police in Afghanistan.