Photo Information

A Marine with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment fires the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a company sized combined-arms attack on range SR-9 at Marine corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 24, 2015. During the training, Alpha Company fired the M4 carbine, the M16 A4 service rifle, M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, M240B machine guns, M2 .50 caliber heavy machine guns, MK19 40mm grenade launchers and M224 60mm lightweight mortar systems.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Miranda Faughn

Prepared for call: 8th Marines maintain deployable capabilities

29 Sep 2015 | Cpl. Krista James II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conducted a company-sized combined-arms attack on range SR9 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 21-25, 2015.

The training served as the culminating event for Company A to prepare them for an upcoming integrated training exercise in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.

“The entire company started in one assembly area and we had M224 60mm mortars that called in to say they were suppressing objectives. Once they were suppressed, three platoons moved and attacked each objective while our combined-arms action team came up and helped support us on the objective,” said Sgt. Ross Vermillion, a guide with the battalion. 

The training was all about progression, according to Capt. Mark Paige, Co. A commanding officer. Starting with fire team ranges, the Marines graduated to squad, platoon, and are now executing a company-reinforced range. 

The training is important because it teaches the Marines at the lowest level what a combined-arms attack looks like, added Vermillion.

“Anywhere in the world that we go, if we do some sort of attack, we’ll use all of the tactics and maneuvers that we used today,” said Vermillion. “I believe that as a company, as a whole, we finally got to do a real attack with [live] rounds. Everyone got to see what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are and how people react in certain situations.

“The hardest part is mentally preparing yourself for such a hard range. It’s a long range even though it wasn’t that hot out, it’s very physically demanding. Every Marine felt it and [was] able to push through it and do [their] job even though it hurt.”

Understanding and conducting a combined-arms exercise is extremely important at all levels of the Marine Corps, according to Paige. Seeing the bigger picture is not something the Marines normally have a chance to do. 

“Combined arms is how the Marine Corps fights so it’s critical for us to understand how to be able to use everything that we have to our advantage. The way we do it differently than [other military branches] is that they do it sequentially and we combine it into one integrated attack,” said Paige. “In a deployed environment it’s just how Marines fight. It’s in our nature to do combined arms so this is exactly the training we need to have.”