U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in a raid-leaders course here Oct. 8.
Marines with BLT 3/1 are the 15th MEU’s ground combat element and will deploy aboard the USS Essex Amphibious Ready Group in 2015.
The raid-leaders course is intended to teach the leaders of 3/1, tactics and fundamentals to take back to their units. The course teaches basic shooting, breaching, raids, medical classes and military operations in urban terrain.
“It’s really meant to be a train-the-trainer environment,” said Sgt. Jason St. John, 34, the class commander with weapons company, 3/1. “Once our raid packages begin later on in our workup for the MEU, we can be out there as subject-matter experts for the Marines going through these packages with us.”
This package is helping the Marines improve their basic shooting skills and break bad habits they may have developed in the past. It puts them into a combat mindset to prepare for the upcoming deployment with the MEU.
“This is better preparing the squad leaders and team leaders for [training] the Marines in their unit and battalion,” said Cpl. Justin Jobin, 24, a scout squad leader with 2nd platoon, 1st Light-Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. “It gets their combat mindset perfect and gets them to be more accurate than we have been in the past years.”
During the shooting portion of the course, the Marines practiced close-quarters combat drills and stoppage and malfunction drills. One of the drills required the Marines to fix malfunctions while blind-folded.
“Essentially, one Marine is going [to the firing line] and there are four weapons in various stages of malfunction,” said St. John. “While blind-folded, the Marine has to work his way through each malfunction, clear it, and get each weapon to fire.”
The purpose of this drill is to ensure that the Marines are able to fix malfunctions without physically having to look down at the weapon. This way they can keep their eyes up and focused on the fight.
Improving proficiency in individual skills reinforces the MEU’s ability to conduct amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations.
“Inside the MEU, there’s going to be different elements broken up in different ships,” St. John said. “Whatever challenge or mission that comes underway, there’s going to be someone on deck with some type of raid-leaders’ experience [and] he’ll be able to give to that element on the ground.”
The Marines going through this course will be better prepared for the missions coming their way.
“These guys are working really hard,” St. John said. “By the time we’re on ship, we’ll be ready to go out and be put into any type of mission. This group is going to be dedicated, dynamic and [be able to] go into any situation that presents itself.”