CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conducted weapons familiarization training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept 9, 2015.
The exercise was used to build basic infantry skills for an upcoming deployment with a Marine Expeditionary Unit. A MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of approximately 2,400 Marines and Sailors on various Navy ships with the purpose of working with partner nations and can act as a quick reaction force to natural disasters and real world contingencies.
“We are getting guys back to their infantry basics, fire and maneuver and weapons handling,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Kerr, a dive team leader with Company A, 1st Recon Bn. “As reconnaissance Marines we are held to a higher standard as advanced warfighters, but it is the basics that matter most.”
The weapons familiarization training began with basic rifle and pistol techniques then progressed to immediate action drills.
“A lot of these guys are fresh from [Basic Reconnaissance Course] so we want to make sure they have all the fundamentals down before we move on,” said Sgt. Kevin Tasanassanta, a radio telephone operator with Company A, 1st Recon Bn.
Marines new to the reconnaissance field have many advantages during training.
“A positive thing about having so many [Marines] straight out of BRC, is they are young minds without any bad habits,” said Kerr. “They are sponges when it comes to picking up the basic infantry task, and they will gain the lacking experience over time.”
Since many Marines in Company A are recent graduates of BRC and have only been with the unit for a few months, they are still building the strong brotherhood needed to accomplish difficult missions.
“We are using this training to start building relationships with each other and get comfortable with the basics,” said Tasanassanta. “Right now we are in the crawl phase, and by the time we get to the run phase our teamwork and muscle memory will be fluent.”
Teamwork is emphasized from a Marine’s first day of recruit training to the day they leave the Corps. When a new member arrives at BRC, team building skills are exponentially emphasized as they grow as a group throughout the course to prepare them for the fleet.
“Brotherhood is one of our mantras,” said Kerr. “Just because I haven’t worked with you doesn’t mean I won’t have your back in a firefight and I have no qualm or question about him doing the same.”
Building a solid base of infantry fundamentals and bonding closer as a team increases 1st Marine Division’s ability as a ground combat element to execute expeditionary and amphibious operations.