MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment conducted a series of fire-team attacks as part of their battalion field exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 26.
The FEX, now in the final week of operations, previously tested Marines on basic infantry fundamentals such as patrolling and land navigation. At a live-fire range, they set their sights on their ability to shoot, move and communicate.
“The FEX was organized with the idea of making it company-driven,” said 1st Lt. Aaron Burtner, the executive officer of Kilo Co. “It allowed us to rotate through different training scenarios, making a building-block approach for what we need to succeed at the squad and platoon levels as we go down the road.”
At the range, fire teams conducted a short patrol before making “contact” in the form of targets of spring up several meters down range. Marines moved with haste to engage and gradually gain ground against their targets, covering each other and communicating over the sounds of gunfire all along the way.
“Our ability to adapt and overcome is based on what we are doing right now, which is building on that infantry foundation,” said Sgt. Tyler Tallman, a platoon sergeant in the company. “If our Marines learn how to do a good fire team attack, they can launch a good squad or platoon-level attack.”
The FEX also serves as a stepping stone to the battalion’s future operations, which will include a training period in the mountains of Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, California.
“We have to condition our bodies for all the movement up there, and instill that fighter-leader concept between our leaders and subordinates,” Tallman said.
Each run-through of the attack was a learning experience for fire team leaders, allowing them to sustain or improve their actions as needed to become more proficient as small-unit infantry leaders.
“We are developing our team leaders with this training,” Burtner said. “I want Marines to be confident in their team leaders to lead them down range. It’s the foundation for what we do. If an infantryman can do that, they can succeed in other aspects.”
The battalion is slated to conduct their training package at MCMWTC Bridgeport, California, in the coming months prior to their unit deployment program.
“When a Marine is down range, sometimes they have to be a little bit bolder, and in doing so they will achieve a greater result,” Tallman said.