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    New Infantry Marine Course aims to create smarter, tougher infantrymen

    New Infantry Marine Course aims to create smarter, tougher infantrymen

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Kerstin Roberts | U.S. Marine Chief Warrant Officer 3 A.J. Pasciuti, the battalion gunner for Infantry...... read more read more



    Story by Chief Warrant Officer Zachary Dyer and Lance Cpl. Kerstin Roberts

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    “Quite simply, you will be the best trained Marines to ever leave ITB. Fact. No Marine has ever spent this much time or got this much training.”

    With these words, U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Walker Koury, the battalion commander for Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry - West, welcomed new Marines to SOI-West, Jan. 25, and introduced them to the concept of the Infantry Marine Course.

    IMC is the pilot for the Marine Corps’ new entry-level infantry training pipeline. The new Marines of Alpha Company, ITB, will spend the next 14 weeks learning the skills they need to be riflemen, machine gunners and anti-tank missilemen.

    Taking the direction given by Commandant Gen. David H. Berger in his 2019 Commandant’s Planning Guidance and Force Design 2030, SOI combat instructors developed IMC’s program of instruction over the last year with a focus on creating young infantry Marines with the tactical skills and cognitive abilities to operate in the expeditionary and dispersed environments of future conflicts. By using a fundamentally different approach to training, ITB leaders hope to give young infantry Marines the freedom of thought and freedom of action they’ll need to successfully operate independently, according to Chief Warrant Officer 3 A.J. Pascuiti, the battalion gunner for ITB.

    “Through freedom of thought and freedom of action, they’re able to employ whatever it is we’ve taught them along the way,” said Pascuiti. “So they’ll have a higher level of understanding. Rather than ‘do a thing because I said so,’ its ‘get to a fundamental end state, and here are the tools that can help you achieve that goal.’”

    The new course uses a student-centered approach to learning, and the extended length provides additional time for practical application and repetitions. The number of combat instructors has also been increased, with one squad instructor leading each 14-man squad through the course. After initial instruction on a certain topic, the Marines will be expected to think for themselves each time that topic or situation comes up again. Gone are the micromanagement, the itemized gear lists and even the marching from location to location experienced by previous ITB students – the Marines are expected to be responsible for themselves.

    “To be more dispersed and more precise, we need privates now that can operate by themselves, and don’t have to be told and shown where to go all the time,” explained Koury.

    During the first nine weeks of the course, the Marines will be taught individual skills like weapons manipulation, land navigation and radio communication. The Marines’ issued M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles will be the “vehicle” for most of those individual skills, but the Marines themselves will be more than just riflemen. By the time they graduate from IMC, they will be proficient with every company-level weapon system, including machine guns and anti-tank missiles.

    “IMC is not a specific skillset for one Marine to be a rifleman, or a machine gunner, or anti-tank missile gunner,” said Staff Sgt. Jude Stewart, the lead marksmanship instructor for Alpha Company. “The infantry Marine of the future will be able to do all of them and understand when and where that skill needs to be applied.”

    The following four weeks will focus on testing their new knowledge in a collective environment, forcing the Marines to work together as fire teams and squads. They’ll learn how to patrol over complex terrain and employ fire and maneuver tactics. This is also when the Marines will learn about combat orders and conduct multiple student-led force on force actions.

    The lessons learned during this first iteration of the IMC pilot will inform the following three, each successive course alternating between SOI-West and SOI-East before the program of instruction is finalized next year. This will give both the schools and the Fleet Marine Force the time to evaluate IMC graduates and ensure the new program is creating the infantry Marines the Corps will need in the future.

    “Rote memorization, instant obedience to orders are good for certain things, and they’re not getting thrown away from this course,” said Pascuiti. “We’re just going a step further, and understanding that the individual – and a collective of individuals – is what wins in combat. What we have to recognize is these young Marines, through a collective of individuals, will win the day for us.”



    Date Taken: 01.28.2021
    Date Posted: 02.19.2021 22:43
    Story ID: 387976
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON , CA, US

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