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Students with Charlie Company at The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, simulated the evacuation of a Marine killed in action Sept. 9 at the training grounds of Quantico. The Marines are on their seven-day War Field Exercise from Sept. 5-12.

Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano

Marine officers earn knowledge for successful future operations

12 Sep 2014 | Cpl. Jose D. Lujano The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

As warfare and needs of the world evolves so must the Marines, who answer the call to action. 

Marine officers with Charlie Company of The Basic School conducted a seven-day War Field Exercise from Sept. 5-12. The Marines began their evolutions on ships at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. 

 “I have never been on a Naval vessel before, and it’s a lot more cramped than I imagined,” said 2nd Lt. Michael D. Hastings, a student with the school. “We were on it for only 48 hours. 

“I can definitely see how you need to figure out something to do when you’re on ship for an extended period of time.”

The new national defense strategy focuses on the Asia-Pacific region and the Marine Corps spending more time on the high seas. The company’s officers created a foundation to lead the fight against chaos in this amphibious environment.

After completing training aboard the ship the Marines were airlifted by MV-22B Ospreys to a training area at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. 

“This is the culminating exercise following six months of officer training regardless of what military occupational specialty these guys are going to,” said Capt. Nicholas C. Mannweiler, a warfighting instructor with The Basic School aboard MCB Quantico. “The exercise will push them to their limits and test their true officership.” 

The officers had a variety of objectives to accomplish which tested their tactical decisions making skills. The training attempted to test the young leaders by re-creating the friction caused by the uncertainty of war. Frictions such as sleep deprivation, hunger and physical exhaustion begin altering plans and start to affect sound decisions making.  This exercise tested these new officers’ ability to work through these problems while still completing their assigned mission.

“Every single War FEX develops and adapts based on what’s available to us, who we are able to partner with in the Navy or Marine Corps to be able to provide them a more enriching experience,” said Mannweiler.

Ensuring The Marine Corps remains America’s force in readiness, being able to fight wherever whenever, begins from day one with officers and leaders of the Corps learning a plethora of tactical knowledge.
“They are exposed to a wide variety of new mission sets they haven’t necessarily seen before,” said Mannweiler. “They get assets such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

“They get all these capabilities and new skill sets that lead into greater missions they may not have sat through a class on, or may have not seen it first hand, but the building blocks and the lessons that they’ve learned through blood sweat and tears will help them get through those new missions.”

The exercise provided the officers with a snapshot of the capabilities and assets they will one day wield. According to Mannweiler, the ships, aircraft and weaponry instilled the officers with a warrior mentality of being amphibious and what it is like to be part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit. 

“We are morphing to an expeditionary force in readiness, as opposed to a land occupation force, its definitely good to get first hand experience of what it is like to be on a ship and working closely with the Navy,” Hastings said.