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Private First Class Alex Garcia, rifleman, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and a native of Modesto, Calif., provides security during an integrated exercise on Range 600 here, Oct. 15, 2013. The training helped Marines see how multiple elements of an attack work together to accomplish a single mission. The Marines attacked mock enemy positions while they were supported by artillery fire. The exercise prepared the Marines for future operations.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore

Marines combine multiple elements of firepower into one mission

22 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, conducted integrated training on Range 600 here, Oct. 15, to prepare the Marines for future operations as the nation's crises response force.

The training helped the Marines of Dark Horse battalion identify how multiple elements of an attack work together to accomplish a single mission.
 
"The importance of this training is to employ the combined arms concept," said 1st Lt. James Rooney, the executive officer for Lima Company, 3rd Bn., 5th Marines. "That's what makes the Marine Corps special. Basically, we're integrating supporting fire from 81 mm mortars, 60 mm mortars and the company's medium machine guns."
 
One of the important aspects of the training is for the junior Marines to rely on their squad leaders and properly use their weapon systems, said Rooney, a native of West Islip, N.Y.
 
"Putting all this together requires a lot of coordination and planning on the parts of the squad leaders, platoon sergeants and platoon commanders," Rooney said. "After the training, the Marines will have confidence in their small unit leaders and their weapon systems."
 
The Marines trained with light anti-armor weapons, M203 grenade launchers and M240B medium machine guns. The Marines used the weapon systems to perform company-size assaults on mock enemy fortified positions. The exercise gave the battalion the chance to combine all the training the Marines have done for the past two months.

"Since August, we have been out training from everything from the individual level to platoon level, and this is the last piece of training," Rooney said. "We'll put it all into one exercise and come together as a company."

Fighting fatigue was also part of the training. The Marines assaulted enemy positions uphill, carrying the rocket systems and machine guns after only a few hours of sleep.

"It's physically and mentally challenging," said Cpl. Lucas Padilla, a squad leader serving with Lima Company. "After a little bit of sleep, we have to do some pretty tough training. We have a lot of weight to carry with us on patrols, and we have to run up hills with more than 80 pounds of gear on our back. It's hard, but we're infantry. It's what Marines are known for."

The physically challenging aspect of the training is beneficial to the Marines because of how it reflects being in a combat situation.

"This training ensures that we're fully prepared to conduct everything from civil support to offensive and defensive operations," said Padilla, a native of Riverside, Calif.
 
The company-size assault the Marines performed on the mock enemy positions helped them remain a force in readiness.