News: Marines complete culminating event during small-unit leadership exercise
Story by Pfc. Codey Underwood
OKINAWA, Japan - Marines with Marine Air Support Squadron 2, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st MAW, III MEF, conducted the exercise to reiterate every aspect of leadership at the squad level.
“My fire team leaders have been tested on their leadership abilities just as much as I have,” said Sgt. Eric J. Hansen, an aviation mechanic with MASS-2. “Starting from the squad leaders down to the fire team leaders, every position of leadership was tested.”
The small-unit leadership exercises included a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear class. Participants also took part in a timed exercise in which they disassembled and reassembled the .50-caliber Browning machine gun and the M240G machine gun. There were also demonstrations on how to call for a casualty evacuation, close air support, and how to clear urban terrain.
“The Marines picked up on the training,” said Lance Cpl. Taylor J. Huth, a military policeman with 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF. “They advanced through the training without hesitation.”
The unit had subject matter experts at each event to make sure Marines received the best training possible.
“For almost every event, I had an expert teaching them,” said Hansen. “What they’re looking for is how we utilize our Marines to get the job done the fastest.”
Of the Marines completing the small-unit leadership exercise, few had military occupational specialties which brought them to the field on a regular basis, according to Lance Cpl. Keith E. Rogers, a refrigeration mechanic with MASS-2.
“This training lets the Marines see the other side of the Marine Corps, not just the air wing,” said Staff Sgt. Philip M. Williams, administrative chief for MASS-2. “It also provides the unit with Marines who know advanced warfighting tactics.”
A field environment not only exposes Marines to new settings, it also provides valuable experiences they can apply in the future.
“As a radio operator, I could be put into a unit which will deploy to a combat zone next to the infantry on the front line,” said Cpl. Jacob A. Soller, a field radio operator with MASS-2. “It is great coming out here because I get to do my job, carry a radio on my back, and get dirty.”
Conducting exercises in the field helps the Marines come together, become stronger, and accomplish the mission on and off the battlefield, said Soller.
“You can never be a perfect leader. There is always something that you can improve upon,” said Hansen. “This (small-unit leadership training) helps the junior Marines put trust in their corporals and sergeants by showing them we are going to get the job done and we are going to get it done quickly.”