MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- What began as a stealthy advance through the trees turned into a barrage of copper, lead and brass as machine guns found their targets. When the machine-gun fire ceased, rifles opened up while teams of Marines bounded forward to their objective.
Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion conducted live-fire platoon attack training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 14 – 15.
The exercise incorporated squad maneuvers and attacks from a concealed position with the supporting fire of two M240 Bravo medium machine guns. The unit used machine guns, which the battalion’s light armored vehicles were substituted for during the exercise, but the weapon systems still provided an opportunity for Marines to maintain their combat skills.
“We set up a hasty attack scenario,” said 1st Lt. Bryan Mellon, a platoon commander with 2nd LAR Bn. “LAR rarely has time to completely plan an attack due to our reconnaissance mission. We end up having to make up things on the fly as we move forward with whatever we’ve been tasked to do.”
Hidden from view of the position they moved to attack, squads of Marines deployed from LAVs and advanced through wooded paths to an open field, where their objective lay approximately 100 meters away. The Marines moved on foot, which took longer but allowed them to approach quietly.
“Due to the stealthy nature of reconnaissance, rolling around in a 19-ton vehicle is too loud,” Mellon said. “We can be quiet while patrolling on foot, though, and that allows us to start a fight on our own terms without having to react to a situation. We can start that situation by being stealthier.”
The exercise tested the unit’s operational skills while acting in an attack and support capacity with on-foot assaults and suppressive fire from their vehicles or machine guns, vital experience for any combat-ready unit.
“This training is important for all infantry Marines,” Mellon said. “We’re tailoring the training to the LAR mission, and right now our mission is to provide company-sized elements for the Marine Expeditionary Units.”