TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - -- It was a warm morning when Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, rose at 3:17 a.m. to begin preparation for platoon attacks aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 24.
Training began for the Marines of Company C with a combined arms fire and maneuver exercise as part of their Integrated Training Exercise in preparation for their upcoming deployment with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response Central Command 16.1 scheduled to depart later this year.
Platoon attacks started with an assault on three reinforced enemy machine gun bunkers. The goal of the assault was to effectively suppress enemy positions, breach any obstacles toward the objective and clear all three bunkers.
1st Lt. Cress Clippard, platoon commander for 1st Platoon, Company C, said that his Marines performed well and adapted to the situation despite several unknowns.
“This is a lot more challenging than we’re used to because instructor trainers from TTECG [Tactical Training Exercise Control Group] will throw obstacles in our way that test our skills of leadership and problem solving,” said Clippard. “However, my Marines took charge and quickly handled the situation without error.”
When the assault began, Marines occupied two support by fire positions and initiated suppressing of all three enemy bunkers, while engineers and rifleman skirted along a jagged creek bed under the cover of M240 medium machine guns.
“In order to grow and develop my platoon as a whole, I allow my squad leaders to take charge after I issue a command,” said Clippard.
After breaching several wire obstacles in the creek bed and sustaining two casualties, riflemen aggressively closed on their objectives one by one and eliminated threats through the use of fragmentation grenades and close quarters fire.
“I believe this kind of training is necessary for refining the basics,” said Lance Cpl. Randy Dick, a grenadier with 1st Platoon, Company C. “Improving marksmanship, communication and violence of action are all skills that ensure we do this job right.”
Through aggressive action and effective communication, 1st Platoon will continue to prepare for their deployment with SPMAGTF-CR-CC.