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Mortar platoon conducts simulated recon patrol

19 Feb 2009 | Lance Cpl. Eugenio Montanez

About 60 Marines participated in the Reconnaissance and Selection of Mortar Positions course here Feb. 18 and 19.

The training, which consisted of 48 hours of patrolling, mortar drills and day and night operations was de­signed to prepare the participants for what they might face during future deployments

“(The training) is arranged to enhance the basic patrolling and fire support skills these Marines need to support the companies that are passing by,” said 2nd Lt.

Matthew J. Hays, platoon com­mander, 81 mm Mortar Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

Training is given to these Marines monthly to make sure they learn everything about their jobs before deployment.

“I believe everything they are teaching us is important to what we do out there,” said Pfc. Adam Z. Shatarsky, a mortarman with 81 mm Mortar Platoon, 2/5. “That’s why we don’t have the luxury of not paying attention.”

Marines who attend this course might be squad leaders and will have to pass on knowledge to their junior Marines, Hays said.

“About half of these Marines just got out of (School of Infantry) and this is their first time doing this,” Hays said. “The rest have been through it several times and once were fire team leaders, but now it’s their turn to step it up to become squad leaders and teach the Marines under them.”

The course is for corporals and below to show how squads are formed for a patrol and how they work together as a team in a combat situation.

The course not only teaches Ma­rines combat operation, but also shows them the value of each Marine in their squad.

“I think this course is good be­cause it teaches us more about our daily job than any other,” said Cpl. Scott M. Blydenburgh, a mortarman with 81 mm Mortar Platoon, 2/5. “It also brings us closer to each other because we are all in it together and that helps each one of us to have faith in the Marine next to us.”