From the rear to the front: MSSG-13 hones combat skills

29 Apr 2005 | Sgt. Charles Moore

Marines from MEU Service Support Group 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit left their tactical vehicles to hone their infantry skills here, as they practiced dismounting their vehicles and assaulting, through trenches, on a fire and movement course. The live-fire course teaches small units the fire-and-maneuver basics. It also challenges its participants to attack fortified positions, like trenches and bunkers. “It’s not part of a traditional (Force Service Support Group) training package,” said 1st Lt. Ryan L. Miller, transportation support officer, MSSG-13. Major Mark P. Ganotti, a “coyote,” or Marine who teaches and supervises at RCAX, added that the range, built eight months ago, was designed specifically for non-infantry units. He said the addition was in response to the trend that support line units are increasingly moving to the front lines. The course’s main objective, however, is to reiterate the Marines' basic infantry skills they may have to use fighting the Global War on Terrorism. “It goes over all the fundamentals,” he said. “If you can fire and move, you can do anything.” As this was a live-fire training event, the Marines spent several hours rehearsing their techniques prior to running through the range by using rock mazes to orient their fire teams with each objective. “The 'pucker factor' was up a little bit, but we’d done our prep work,” Miller said. “It was time to do the real thing.” As the Convoy was ambushed, the Marines quickly exited their vehicles and found cover, while both platoons returned fire. They pushed through a barrage of suppressive fires towards the objective. Once they reached the trenches, they threw simulated grenades and assaulted through. Lance Corporal Ryan Graika, longshoreman, said the hardest part was “trying to get into a position” that provided cover, while still maintaining the ability to return fire. “It’s kind of a reality check,” said Graika. “With the live rounds, you’ve really got to pay attention to those around you.”
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit