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Marines serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, prepare to start their assault on an enemy position during a training exercise here, May 15, 2013. The training was designed to give fire team leaders and squad leaders practice leading their infantrymen in combat situation.

Photo by Lance Cpl. James Gulliver

Infantry Marines refine elite combat skills

18 May 2013 | Cpl. James Gulliver

Infantry Marines say they take pride in being the primary force in a ground combat element, but it is through countless hours of harsh training that truly gives them their elite status.

Marines of 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, reinforced their infantry muscle by performing live fire assault training here, May 16.

The assault gave team leaders and squad leaders, a chance to hone their leadership skills as they led their Marines into scenarios they would face in combat.

“Our mission was to set up an observation post on a hill, and upon receiving fire from an enemy position, assault through and take the enemies defensive position,” said Sgt. Michael Lockhart, a squad leader serving with Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 1st Marines. 

The fire team leaders played an essential part during the exercise because the training was designed to test the small unit leaders mettle and decision making skills.

“The team leaders job is to make sure everything we do is done right,” said Lance Cpl. Luis Villa, a fire team leader serving with Bravo Co. “We take care of the little things so our commanders can worry about the big picture.”

The training was also designed to give Marines practice with their combat lifesaving skills by giving them a chance to treat simulated casualties.

As senior combat tested Marines provided guidance and feedback along the way to Marines going through the assault course, they also randomly selected Marines to drop act as if they were wounded.

Infantry Marines spend vast amount of times training and preparing themselves for deployments, and combat engagements, and emphasize worst-case scenarios like casualties.

“Training for combat is our primary job,” said Cpl. Seth Robinette, a squad leader serving with Bravo Co. “This training is vital to not only our safety in combat, but also the Marines around us.”

The training helped the company build unit cohesion by overcoming the hardships faced in training, added Robinette, a St. Clair, Mo. native.

From performing missions ranging from reconnaissance missions to assaults Robinette said his fellow infantry Marines take a great amount of pride in being the ground combat element.

“We are the guys on the ground, going house to house, storming the enemies positions,” said Lockhart, a Reading, Pa. native. “But we have many other diverse roles such as gathering information on the enemy for the commander.”

The assault course they completed was one of the many capabilities they trained for, he added.

The Marine Corps infantry proved themselves as a deadly force in combat, but their elite training is what sets them apart from the rest giving them the edge they need in combat.