Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Tyler Carroll fires an AT-4 during a live-fire movement course Jan. 18 at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait. Marines with Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, Calif., are attending sustainment training as part of their current deployment to the Pacific and Arabian Gulf.

Photo by Sgt. Bryson K. Jones

11th MEU sharpens warfighting skills in desert

19 Jan 2008 | Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Firing the AT-4 anti-tank weapon is like getting a shot of pure adrenaline and getting knocked on the side of the head.

 But it was the best knock on the head he’s ever received, said Lance Cpl. Tyler S. Carroll, a Sandy, Utah native, describing how he felt after firing his first live anti-tank weapon during his unit’s desert sustainment training at the Udairi Range Complex here this week.

 For more than a week, the Marines of Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, Calif. have been fanned out across various ranges sharpening their war-fighting skills with static weapons shoots and live-fire exercises.

 “It’s basic infantry, straight assault tactics. It’s our bread and butter,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua T. Gutierrez, 4th Platoon sergeant, Company C. Marines train using cover and concealment tactics and techniques all the time because they are universal. These tactics will work whether in a jungle, inside buildings, fallen logs or a dirt pile, he said. “They are also perishable skills.”

 According to 1stLt. Clinton K. Hall, 1st Platoon Commander, Company C, from Winnemucca, Nev., small unit leadership was the main focus of this training, so squad leaders served as the primary instructors.

 The squad leaders focused on teaching their Marines how to move effectively under cover fire, how to employ their weapons effectively and how to react to enemy contact at close and at long range, said Gutierrez. This was done on a range designed to simulate an urban combat environment littered with bombed out buildings, bullet-riddled vehicles and pop-up targets. The weapons used included the M16A4 and M4 Service Rifles, M203 Grenade Launcher, Squad Automatic Weapon, training fragmentation grenades and the AT-4.

 Throughout the exercise, the squad leaders put their Marines to the test and kept their eyes on the weapons for safety reasons. They instructed and challenged the decisions and actions of their Marines and corrected them on the spot. They also added artificial stress by changing the dynamics of the scenario to see how their Marines would react.

 “You’ve been shot in the right arm and you’re down,” one instructor yelled at a Marine. When the Marine started yelling for help, a corpsman came over to apply medical aid. This prompted some members of the squad to drag the injured Marine to safety. “Why aren’t you providing security!” yelled a squad leader to a hesitant Marine. The rifleman quickly complied.

 According to Carroll, a rifleman with 4th Plattoon, Company C, BLT 1/5, the training was the best he’s ever had. “It felt very realistic and really made us think.”

 Carroll said his fire team’s scenario was to take out an enemy sniper who was holed up in an unknown location. “My job was to maneuver my way onto the roof of a building and destroy an enemy vehicle to create a chaotic environment to allow my team to advance in the direction of the sniper.”

 His team members provided cover for him as he bounded from vehicle to vehicle and then onto the roof of a building.

 From up high, Carroll had a clear shot. “I thought to myself, ‘I better not miss because my team is depending on me,” he said. Carroll steadied himself, aimed in, warned those behind him to stay clear of the back-blast area and then let the missile fly. In a flash, the enemy vehicle exploded into a ball of flames and smoke. “My shot went right through the door,” said Carroll. “It was awesome. The AT-4 tracer trainer doesn’t come close to the real thing,” said Carroll.

 Firing the AT-4 was the highlight of his week, said Carroll. It made the days spent in the desert training under freezing temperatures seem like a cold and distant memory.

 ***For more information on the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit visit their website at

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
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Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
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LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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