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Lance Cpl. Justin Ezell, a Marine with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, shoots at his target during Special Operations Training Group’s Raid Leaders Course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 9, 2015. The two-week long course focuses on preparing Marines to conduct combat raids. (Photo by LCpl. Danielle Rodrigues/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Danielle Rodrigues

Marines with 2/1 participate in Raid Leaders Course

14 Jul 2015 | Lance Cpl. Danielle Rodrigues 1st Marine Division

His weapon was steady and level as he glided over the flat terrain. Bullets quickly riddled the circular target with holes as the Marine sighted in on his next objective. When he was finished, an instructor tallied his score, which resulted in two push-ups for two missed shots.

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division participated in Special Operations Training Group’s Raid Leaders Course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 9, 2015. The two-week long course focuses on preparing Marines for what to expect during combat raids.

The first week of their training consisted of marksmanship shooting, weapon manipulation, close-quarter tactics and room clearing. During the second week, the training focused on breaching, providing security, urban covert movement, vehicle assaults, and support by fire.

“This is a 'train the trainer' type course,” said Sgt. Nathan Sleeman, a SOTG Raid Leaders Course instructor. “It doesn’t really focus on the leadership aspect, but rather on showing the Marines how and what to rehearse, so that they can teach everybody in their squad to be thinkers, versus trying to move them around like chess pieces.”

Students learn about all the details that go into conducting raids. They perfect their skills so they can go back to their units and the Marines can teach their squads to be just as proficient, said Cpl. William Morgan, an anti-tank missileman with 2/1.

“The biggest thing I learned this week was how to shoot and clear stoppages,” said Morgan. “How this course teaches it is totally different and way better than any way I’ve learned before.”

Students get to see the bigger picture of the planning process, said Sleeman. The Marines learn what their role is from the start to the finish of a mission, said Sleeman.

“The biggest thing that we push is to be a thinker, rather than waiting on someone to tell them what to do,” said Sleeman. “It’s important for Marines to know the situation they’re in and to be able to make the call when a decision is necessary.”

SOTG will continue to provide opportunities for Marines that will keep them mission ready and prepared for anything.