Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Joshua Byer, left, and Lance Cpl. Justin Goodchild use a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver to check a heading during a land navigation test at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Sept. 3, 2014. Byer and Goodchild are both gunners with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, practicing their land navigation skills during team leaders course. Byer is a native of Columbus, Ohio and Goodchild is a native of Longwood, Fla.

Photo by Cpl. J. R. Heins

2nd LAAD Marines find their azimuth during land navigation training

9 Sep 2014 | Cpl. J. R. Heins The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion’s team leader course took to the field at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s, N.C., Sept. 3, to test their abilities with land navigation.

Land navigation is a fundamental, yet perishable skill that Marines learn during their time at recruit training. It is reinforced through different leadership classes and courses throughout their enlistment.

Ten students in 2nd LAAD’s team leader course spent a full day refreshing their understanding of mapping and plotting, the basics of the lensatic compass and the Defense Advanced GPS Receiver, said Sgt. Dustin Poe, a course instructor with the battalion.

“We cover everything, from how to read a map to shooting an azimuth,” said Poe, a native of Suffolk, Va.
The DAGR simplifies navigation for the Marines, but they need to understand the basic fundamentals before they can operate it properly.

“As instructors we want to pass along as much knowledge as we can to our students,” said Poe. “We teach the Marines every possible method to help them.”

Land navigation is simple in theory, said Poe. However, during practical application, the students can see where they need work.

“The skills involved with a map and compass takes a lot of time to develop,” said Lance Cpl. Justin Goodchild, a LAAD gunner with the squadron. “It makes you appreciate how easy you have things when you go from a DAGR or some other type of GPS to that.”

The techniques for land navigation are fairly easy to grasp, said Goodchild, a native of Longwood, Fla. Understanding the basics is really what is important.

“Understanding the fundamentals is what prepares Marines to be able to find their way home or help them complete their mission,” he said.