Featured News
Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Deacon Holton, a native of Chelsea, Mich., and a section leader with 81 mm mortar section, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, reminds the Marines of the importance of upholding the battalion standards during training here, July 13, 2013. "This training gives us the opportunity to reinforce and refine our skill set, which in turn makes us better at doing our jobs," Holton said.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson

Marines in Helmand province train to avoid complacency

18 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Mel Johnson

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, conducted reset training here, July 13, 2013. 

During the training, Marines received classes on safeguarding information, rules of engagement and different courses of fire at the range. 

“What we’re doing is trying to reinforce that no matter how many times Marines fire the same range, they’re rehearsing for something bigger,” said Staff Sgt. Deacon Holton, a section 
leader with 2nd Bn., 8th Marines.

The goal of reset training is to allow the companies to regroup and reorganize their skills as well as conduct additional training based on their experiences in Afghanistan since the beginning of their deployment.

“This training gives us the opportunity to reinforce and refine our skill set, which in turn makes us better at doing our jobs,” said Holton, a Chelsea, Mich., native.

Holton also said the training helps his Marines avoid complacency.

Marines said they were looking forward to accomplishing the training and returning to missions throughout southern Helmand province.

“We train like this constantly on Camp Lejeune with mortar systems, but training here gives it a new perspective,” said Cpl. Nathan A. Waits, 23, a vehicle commander with the 81 mm mortar section. “After this training evolution, we’ll be better prepared to continue our missions.”

The training here is beneficial for the junior Marines because it gives them the opportunity to show their leadership skills, said Waits, a Cincinnati native. 

“The best part of being able to do this training is the fact that it takes us back to the basics,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan Gilmore, a 24-year-old native of Auburn, N.Y., and a mortar man with 2nd Bn., 8th Marines. “This is the first time for a lot of us to be team leaders. So not only are we getting refreshed on the fundamentals, we’re being prepped to take the lead when we return home.”

After a few days of classes and successful courses of fire, the Marines returned to their daily routines. 

“We’re not always going to be able to do something that they haven’t seen, but there’s a reason that we have standards,” Holton said. “It gives us something to build upon—the big thing is just reminding them of that. I’m more than positive that these boys are more than ready.”