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    “Lone Star” battalion maintains readiness during annual training

    “Lone Star” battalion maintains readiness during annual training

    Photo By Cpl. John McCall | Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, fire Light Assault Weapons (LAWs)...... read more read more

    FORT POLK, LA, UNITED STATES

    06.10.2014

    Story by Cpl. John McCall 

    Marine Forces Reserve

    FORT POLK, La. – The trait of being always ready has been a part of the Marine Corps’ ethos for more than 238 years. 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment held true to this standard during their annual training here, June 1 – 11.

    In order to maintain their readiness, 1/23 took part in numerous field exercises specific to each job skill. These exercises included: weapons training, grenade qualification, gas chamber, demolition, and live-fire ranges.

    “It helps us stay proficient with our weapon systems,” said PFC Cody L. Cummings, a machine gunner from Maud, Texas. “Any problems that we run into can be addressed here so that in a real-life scenario, we’ll know what to do.”

    After completing multiple live-fire ranges, each company participated in coordinated platoon-sized attacks. Each squad played a key role in assaulting mock enemy objectives.

    “We have to be proficient in our job so that the whole unit can be successful,” said Lance Cpl. Eduardo Castellanos, a machine gunner from San Antonio. “Without good suppressing fire from machine guns, the company’s rifle squads can’t maneuver safely to their objective.”

    As a Reserve unit, 1/23 typically meets one weekend a month and only two full weeks a year. Even though these Marines take advantage of the time they are given on drill weekends, there is only so much that can be done in a two-day period. The importance and value of annual training cannot be overstated, especially since this opportunity only presents itself once a year.

    “We don’t always get to put as many rounds down range as we do [at AT], which is why we have to make the best of it,” said Cpl. Alexander Gil, a section leader with Company A. “You have to train like you fight and for us it’s even more important because we don’t do this every day.”

    With a combat deployment to Afghanistan under his belt, Gil knows firsthand how important training like this can be.

    “I try to give as much guidance as I can to ensure the Marines under me are confident and ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Gil, a native of Houston, explained. “When they do deploy, they’re going to be attached to different units and I won’t be there to guide them. They need to be the expert at their job and perform when it really counts.”

    More often than not a Marine Corps Reserve unit does not deploy as a whole. Instead, it is divided into smaller detachments to fill gaps within the active duty component and facilitate the employment of the total force.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.10.2014
    Date Posted: 06.10.2014 18:16
    Story ID: 132721
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: MAUD, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US

    Web Views: 494
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN