Photo Information

A Marine with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment recites a practical phrase used to simulate the time it takes to send a burst of live fire at KR-5 live-fire range aboard Schofield Barracks, Sept. 19, 2014 as part of the Island Viper exercise. The exercise is meant to prepare Marines for real-world combat. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Harley Thomas)

Photo by Pfc. Harley Thomas

Communication; Lifeblood of success

29 Sep 2014 | Pfc. Harley Thomas The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines of Golf Company, call sign “Grizzly,” 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment conducted combined-arms offensive and defensive maneuvers at the KR-5 live-fire range aboard Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa, Hawaii, Sept. 19, 2014.

Marines with Grizzly are taking part in Island Viper, a training exercise meant to prepare them during their predeployment training cycle. The main goals of the operations at Schofield are to refine tactics, techniques and procedures while ensuring Marines can successfully work together to accomplish missions. Island Viper began Sept. 15 and runs through until Sept. 25.

On day five of Island Viper, Marines conducted patrols and received simulated enemy fire from the “People’s Democratic Republic of North Shela.” The Marines began the drill with dry-fire runs, performing rushes and movement drills before beginning the live-fire training.

“Today was basically a squad range attack and we had supporting elements with us,” said Cpl. Matthew Hastings, a team leader with Golf Co., 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. “We had assaultmen using (Shoulder-fired Multipurpose Assault Weapons), machine gunners and mortars in support. The goal of today was to train on working as a squad toward attacking any objective, eliminating the enemy and getting trained for any enemy we would encounter in the Pacific (area of operation).”

The Marines conducted patrols through KR-5 before taking on enemy fire. Upon receiving fire, Marines with Golf Company performed buddy rushes up to the firing line, where they provided cover and returned fire upon the simulated “Ivan” pop-up target. Hastings said this portion of Island Viper is meant to prepare Marines for combined assaults by working with detachments and support located within the company and to have efficient communication when confronted in combat environments. It also gives Marines at the squad leader level a chance to effectively train and prepare their junior Marines for future exercises.

“We work on platoon raids,” said Cpl. Arturo Chavez, a fire team leader with Golf Co., 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. “We just finished the mechanized raids with (amphibious assault vehicles) and now we’re working on squad attacks and defenses. We did a frontal attack so the junior Marines would get used to working with different (weaponry).”

The Marines with Golf Company also ensured that the Marines were fully aware of how crucial safety and communication is for mission success. Chavez said the Marines work on buddy rushes at the team level and then are individually responsible for checking their gear by conducting pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections.

The purpose of the PCCs and PCIs is to make sure they have full magazines, flak jacket and Kevlar, front and back small-arms protective inserts and any other gear needed to have a successful mission. Lance Cpl. John Verdusco, an automatic rifleman with Golf Co., 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, says that communication is vital to the success of the mission. During the exercise, Verdusco had to carry one of his fellow Marines to safety and call in for a simulation medical evacuation, providing security until help had arrived.

“When a buddy of yours goes down, you want those above you to know so they can send in something to get that individual out of the way as fast as possible,” Verdusco said. “You give them your coordinates, tell them how the area is, how bad the casualty is and how you are treating him.”

Hastings said he agrees when it comes to the importance of safety and communication. The two have a direct impact on the success and overall outcome of the mission.

“Communication is important, so everybody knows the whole scheme of what we’re doing,” Hastings said. “It’s our bread and butter, honestly. If we don’t have any communication out there, we don’t have anything at all.”