News: Rolling in the deep with Thundering 3rd Platoon
Story by Cpl. Paris Capers
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Aug. 15) – The lieutenants of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Co., The Basic School, put the lessons they’ve learned for the last three months to the test during Field Exercise II, a culminating event stressing platoon-sized elements on Range 15 on Aug. 15, 2013.
The four-day exercise took 3rd platoon through preparation for the evolution, entrenchment and defensive positions, offensive maneuvers and, lastly, a live-fire support by fire mission with a maneuver element.
The final mission involved a two-part attack on an objective where the designated machinegun squad laid suppressive fire while the maneuver element closed with the enemy at a 90-degree offset.
Though only three months into a six-month stint at TBS, 3rd platoon’s performance impressed their evaluators.
“They’ve come a long way,” said Capt. Matthew Schultz, the Staff Platoon commander for 3rd Platoon. “I’ve been with them since Day 1, and the change I’ve seen already, only half-way through their cycle, is incredible.”
Three months prior to the exercise, freshly commissioned lieutenants graduated from Officer Candidates School and made the trip into the west side of base where they began Basic Officers Course at The Basic School as Charlie Co.
Three weeks prior to the exercise, they were bombarded with their first platoon-level classes, which were bolstered by previous lessons on individual rifleman up to squad-level tactics.
Three hours prior to the exercise, the platoon was practicing gun drills and fine-tuning their communication cues, while being coached on their performance.
“We train them with class and field time, and through mentorship as well,” Schultz said. “We give them more one-on-one time here than they’ll ever see during their careers.”
The input third platoon received came from not only senior officers, but enlisted men as well as enlisted advisors were fully integrated into the platoon for the first time.
“[Access to enlisted advisors] gives them the chance to interact with the enlisted Marines and see what we can bring to the table,” said Sgt. Robert Moser, enlisted advisor for 3rd Platoon, Charlie Co., TBS. “It also helps drive home the idea that [officer roles] may be to push key doctrine while [enlisted Marines] employ the weapons systems on the ground. They are the art of war and we’re the science of war.”
With the final evolution of FEX II, 3rd platoon has passed another milestone in their path to becoming Marine Corps officers.