CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment took the Mortar Team Course at 1st Marine Division Schools here Mar. 30.
The students are the first to go through the course, which is designed for the mortarman military
occupational specialty, since it has been brought back to Division Schools.
“The main goal, just like every other course here at division schools, is to serve as a refresher course for those Marines who have been out of their MOS doing something different and are looking to go back to the fleet in their primary MOS,” said Sgt. Justin T. Adams, 24, a Mortar Team Course instructor from Dallas. “It is also for those junior Marines who are just getting out of the School of Infantry and want to break away from their unit and work down and dirty on their MOS, learn different tactics from the instructors and work together to develop cohesiveness within their unit.”
Strengthening the skills necessary to perform one’s job is a priority for most Marines, and the course helped hone the skills of the mortarmen new to the field.
“I want to be the best at what I do, just like any other Marine, but it involves more than just being the best,” said Pfc. Joshua L. Thorpe, 19, a student in the course with Weapons Company, 2nd Bn., 7th Marines. “Supporting other Marines is our job as mortarmen and being able to help them complete a mission or save some lives is what it’s all about.”
Marines from any infantry MOS are not only welcomed, but encouraged to attend the course.
“It’s a great course to cross train on, and infantry Marines are always trying to learn other MOS’,” said Adams. “You want to know every job in the infantry field as an infantry Marine.”
Students going through the course are picking up on the knowledge very quickly, and many said they support the idea of sending any infantryman through the course.
“We have two guys that switched over from assaultmen to be mortarmen and they’ve been on the gun for all of about a week and they already have the knowledge down,” said Pfc. Fred J.R. Papaleo, 20, a student in the course with Weapons Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Marines from The Colony, Texas.
Teaching the basics can help Marines learn better and faster while going through the course.
“The great thing about this course is that we break things down from step one, beginner level, and by the time we graduate we are up to varsity level, doing gun drills in a timely manner and doing field operations that you will be doing on deployments,” said Adams. “Any Marine can come here and benefit from it.”
Building on their skills can help any Marine on future deployments.
“Getting faster on my gun helps so when I go out on patrol, I will be a lot faster,” said Papaleo. “When someone calls for an emergency fire mission, the faster you can get your system ready, the faster you can put rounds down range and help your fellow Marines.” These Marines will also help their unit build on their teamwork and cohesion.
“Coming out here allows us to come together and work better with each other when getting ready for this upcoming deployment and while staying in garrison,” said Thorpe who is from Stanwood, Mich.
“What we want to see is that when these Marines get back to the fleet they cross train each other and pass their knowledge on to their junior Marines,” said Adams.