KANGAROO FLATS TRAINING AREA, NT, AUSTRALIA
KANGAROO FLATS TRAINING AREA, Northern Territory, Australia – A squad-sized enemy element waited in trenches, ready to attack only a few meters away from the Marines of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin.
At least that’s what the squad-attack training simulated as the Marines planned their scheme-of-maneuver on the fly in order to eliminate that “enemy” threat, here, May 22.
“They got a fragmentation order last night,” said 1st Lt. Wesley Nix, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “Their mission was to go through and kick them out of the trenches with sniper support and machine gun support.”
With so many different elements that go into conducting a squad attack, well-coordinated planning becomes paramount.
“This training really stresses teamwork. It helps those noncommissioned officers develop their squads, camaraderie and esprit de corps,” said Nix. “It replicates real-life, combat scenarios. Sometimes we’ll end up doing something without a lot of time to prepare and then have to go straight into an attack.”
A few short hours of planning to remove the enemy from the trenches meant every Marine felt the pressure of knowing his role.
“It’s small-unit leadership,” said Cpl. Patrick Paul, squad leader, 1st Plt., Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “You basically have to [plan] everything, so everyone down to the basic rifleman can understand what’s going on and what they have to do to get the mission accomplished.”
Although the Marines entered “hostile” ground with a plan of action, they quickly learned that combat rarely goes as planned – even simulated warfare.
“All of the sudden, they could say, ‘Hey, that guy is down.’ Then there’s a casualty, and you have to prepare a casualty evacuation team,” explained Paul. “When you get out there, anything can happen. You’ve got to be prepared to adapt.”
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