Marines and a sailor supported by CH-53E Super Stallions, with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced), traveled 100 nautical miles inland from USS Makin Island to conduct training in desert terrain here Jan. 13-16.
Reconnaissance Marines and a corpsman with Battalion Landing Team 3/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in live-fire exercises, weapons handling classes and a 10-mile hike.
Marines within the platoon taught classes including basic marksmanship, weapons handling, shooting positions and observation techniques.
After receiving basic classes, the reconnaissance platoon participated in a day and nighttime live-fire exercise to familiarize each member of the platoon with various weapons systems to maintain weapon proficiency, according to Sgt. Thomas Gill.
“This type of training ultimately makes the Marines more effective and dependable in their job,” said Gill, a team leader with the reconnaissance platoon. “Training never stops. The more training we do, the better we can keep our mindset oriented toward the fight.”
During the live-fire exercises the platoon fired 9mm pistols, M4 carbine rifles, M240B machine-guns and an M110 semi-automatic sniper rifle, while engaging multiple targets and shooting at unknown distances.
“They are doing their job in an uncomfortable desert environment,” said Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence T. O’Connor. “I think they’ve done really well.”
The 23-man platoon also conducted a 10-mile hike with a 50-pound pack through mountainous desert terrain.
“Ultimately training helps support the BLT and MEU with any mission that may come up,” said O’Connor, the reconnaissance platoon sergeant.
The Camp Pendleton-, Calif., based unit deployed from San Diego Nov. 14 aboard USS Makin Island, USS New Orleans, and USS Pearl Harbor for a regularly scheduled deployment.
The 11th MEU is currently providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.