News: Marines prepare for upcoming deployment
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlan
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Alongside their squad leaders and fire-team leaders, junior Marines serving with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, blasted a barrage of machine gun, mortar and rocket fire downrange here, Oct. 24, in preparation for an upcoming deployment in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The 31st MEU is a Marine air-ground task force that patrols the Pacific Ocean aboard an amphibious ship in the Asia-Pacific region with the strength of about 2,200 personnel and is the only permanent forward-deployed MEU.
“We’re constantly keeping busy, whether it’s going over drills, seeing how we can improve our tactics or just cleaning our weapons,” said Pfc. Jay Roberts, a rifleman with Golf Co., and a native of Hudson, Wis. “Sometimes we will shoot throughout the day and continue to shoot through the night.”
Even after graduating from Infantry Training Battalion, Marines have much to learn once they arrive to their assigned unit.
“It’s hard being the newest Marine to the unit,” said Pfc. Daniel Soto, a rifleman and a native of San Diego. “But everyone was once in my shoes when they were the new Marine. There are so many things that you have learn in such a little timeframe, especially with our upcoming deployment.
“I’ve learned a lot from my team just by watching them on the range here,” Soto added.
Corporal George Heath, the 2nd Squad leader of 3rd Platoon, said the new Marines in the company build upon the basic skills they learn in ITB once they arrive.
“Being out here on Range 408 gives the new Marines an opportunity to build cohesion and trust within their teams,” said Heath, a native of Kansas City, Mo. “They still have a lot to learn, but the more they are with their teams on the range, the smoother and better they are going to work together when they deploy.”
Their training also continues after they leave the training area.
“We are constantly being tested and challenged,” said Pvt. Timothy Nguyen, a rifleman and a native of San Jose, Calif. “Wherever we are, we have to keep a combat mindset to be ready for anything.”
Infantrymen train to persevere through many hardships and obstacles they may face during combat deployments. Roberts said it’s best to go through tough training now so they can be mentally and physically ready when overseas.
“We have been taught to always be there for the brothers to the left and right of us, no matter what happens,” Roberts said.