Photo Information

A Marine conceals himself under the obstruction of deployed smoke during the company supported, live-fire assault portion of a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, Dec. 6, 2015. The purpose of a MCCRE is to evaluate Marines’ collective performance in specific mission requirements that will prepare them for their upcoming deployment rotation. The Marine is with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Devan Gowans

Fighting fire with fire; 2/7 leads charge

22 Dec 2015 | Lance Cpl. Devan Gowans The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, conducted a company supported, live-fire assault during the battalion iteration of the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, Dec. 6-7, 2015.

The purpose of the MCCRE is to evaluate 2nd Bn., 7th Marines’ collective performance in requisite combat operations, certifying, as well as preparing them for their upcoming deployment with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, which is a forward-deployed, crisis response force supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

During the company assault, Marines suppressed simulated enemy positions in a valley environment with machine guns from elevated positions while squads of Marines cleared through concertina wire obstacles and trenches below.

The main objective of the attack was to coordinate multiple weapons systems, directing their fire to allow rifle companies to clear a defensive position and three separate trench lines, according to 1st Lt. William Rockwood, a platoon commander and evaluator with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.

Company E led the first assault, followed by Company F, each accompanied by mortar and sniper teams, along with a Combined Anti-Armor Team. CAAT employs heavy machine guns and missiles to destroy armored vehicles.

“As a rifle company, our job was to get in and clear the trenches, but we had excellent support from the CAAT platoons, a section of 81mm mortars and a sniper team,” said 1st Lt. Eric Todorski, executive officer of Company E. “The supporting units gave us our initial suppression and allowed us to close with the enemy, letting us effectively employ our weapons systems into the fight.”

The assault provided the Marines of 2nd Bn. with the means to skillfully apply all of the tactics that were taught in prior training, showcasing individual unit leadership and tactical proficiency that has developed throughout the battalion.

“We got to see everything that we’ve prepared for up to this point come together,” said Todorski. “Watching the full company flow through a three-objective company-enforced range so efficiently was very satisfying to us as observers.”

The assault scenario was not meant to teach the basics to the Marines, but build upon, refine and evaluate their basic skills in offensive operations.

“Our success as a company and as a battalion is tailored to those individual skills sets,” said 1st Lt. Brendan Schultz, a platoon commander with Company F. “We’ve already built upon those skills throughout the evaluation up to this point, but now our focus here is to put them to the test.”

After the Marines completed the final offensive in the assault scenario, they left with a greater knowledge of the team support and proficiency needed to carry out an operational offensive. As part of the MCCRE, the assault also showcased the Marines’ individual and unit readiness that will prove to be vital to expeditionary forces in deployed environments.