News: Philippine, U.S. Marines test skills with firing drills
Story by Lance Cpl. David Hersey
NAVAL STATION LEOVIGILDO GANTIOQUI, SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES, Republic of the Philippines – Decisions made during tense combat conditions could mean the difference between living and dying, so to test their readiness, Marines dug deep and recalled their basic rifleman techniques while they progressed through a stressful course.
The course is designed to test their marksmanship and communication skills while operating under stressful conditions.
This is accomplished by practicing shooting drills and communications drills after simulated stress through physical exertion.
Marines participated in a stress shoot drill Oct. 6 at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales, Republic of the Philippines, during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
“The drill is designed to test their endurance and ability to maintain proper technique under stressful conditions,” said Sgt. Sean G. Colon, a scout sniper with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, currently assigned to ground combat element, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The course paired Philippine Marines with U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
PHIBLEX 14 is a bilateral training exercise designed to demonstrate the commitment of the United States and Republic of the Philippines to mutual security, and ensures the readiness of a bilateral force to rapidly respond to regional humanitarian crises.
The drill began with two Marines sprinting 100 meters, followed by ten burpees. Then, both moved through a smoke-filled course, as one Marine operated the rifle while his partner moved and gave him firing commands while moving with him to simulate communication under stress.
The drill itself is used as a way to encourage friendly competition while improving the efficiency and capabilities of the Marines participating, according to Sgt. Sean G. Colon, a scout sniper with Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, Weapons Company, 3rd Bn., and 3rd Marines.
By sharing their knowledge and training methods, the Marines built positive relations while sharpening their skills at the same time, according to Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Tucker, a machine gunner with Weapons Company.
“We spend time with (the Philippine Marines) and teach them our tactics and training,” said Tucker. “At the same time we are learning from them. By teaching others we are able to retain more knowledge of our own job and fix the areas we are lacking in.”
For the Philippine Marines, the training is an opportunity to learn new skills, which they can add to their own, according to Philippine Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jaime C. Astorga, a coxswain with In Shore Boat Battalion, Philippines Marine Corps.
“We get to learn about weapons we are unfamiliar with and are taught by the Marines,” said Astorga. “We can add these new techniques to our own and increase our readiness.”
For Philippine and U.S. Marines, the training was a fun and beneficial way to sharpen their skills and build relationships, according to Colon.
“When the Marines see how much they’ve improved after doing something like this, they learn to appreciate just how far they have come and how much they put into the training to get to that point, while also supporting and pushing each other to go even farther,” said Colon.