MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California --
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, came together to learn and sharpen their skills with a Division Schools Machine Gunner’s course on machine gun nomenclature, optics and operations aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 30, 2015.
The fire command and control class is conducted the first week of the three-week course and is vital to the foundational skills of the Marines. These classes may seem unnecessary, but even the most experienced machine gunner can forget to apply the basics.
Sergeant Joseph Vickers, a machine gun instructor from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, not only emphasized the importance of these fundamentals, but explained to the Marines the importance of teamwork and looking out for your fellow Marines.
“As an instructor, it’s my job to teach these Marines how to man a machine gun, disassemble and reassemble, and proper weapon maintenance,” said Vickers. “But it’s the more experienced Marines, team leaders to be exact, who aid the junior Marines in learning the importance of following orders and being a team player.”
These drills are a great opportunity for the junior Marines to work with their counterparts, added Vickers.
Sgt. Hector E. Villalobos, the machinegun chief instructor for Division Schools, wants a course that provides teambuilding opportunities for new Marines.
“I want to make sure my instructors implement the element of teambuilding within their lessons. It’s important for the team leaders to be treated as such and for them to have the responsibility of making sure their Marines are good to go,” said Villalobos. “But I must say I have seen a vast improvement in the junior Marines from when they first began.”
The squad leaders and section leaders take these courses as a chance to start building relationships with their new Marines. Building these relationships creates fluidity in combat, which makes it easier to create new standard operating procedures within the squads, explained Villalobos.
As their culminating event, the machine gun sections will join their mortar and anti-armor counterparts in a live-fire event later in the course.
Completion of the course ensures the combat readiness of the machine gunners with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, making sure they are always equipped with the knowledge to successfully carry out the mission.