YUMA PROVING GROUNDS, YUMA, Ariz. – The landscape is mountainous and arid with temperatures nearing 100 degrees. A large group of Marines crouched low just behind the crest of a ridgeline. They received the signal and rushed over the top and set up their machine guns and laid down a heavy barrage of lead on an unsuspecting enemy. Meanwhile, at the base of the hill, another group of Marines charged from around the base of the hill to assault the enemy position.
Today, the “enemy” is plastic silhouette targets and plywood bunkers located in the southern Arizona desert. The Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, conducted live-fire platoon and company-sized combined arms attacks October 5 – 7, at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz.
The training began Oct. 5, with each of India Company’s platoons conducting assaults with machine-gun support. By Oct. 7, the Marines were ready to conduct a company-sized attack complete with machine-gun support as well as Javelin and TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) missiles.
“We conducted company level attacks, using fire and maneuver and combined arms,” said Capt. Tyler Holt, the India Company commander and Chicago native. “After completing this training, the Marines understand how to move and work together to accomplish the mission.”
The Marines began training and working up to the point to conduct these attacks earlier in the summer at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., doing fire team and squad training. The culmination of that training was the company attack. The Marines executed a clearing zone against difficult terrain.
“We executed the mission without dry runs,” said 2nd Lt. Bernardo Garcia, the 2nd Platoon commander and Phoenix native. “It was good for the Marines, especially the small-unit leaders, to get where they needed to be and make adjustments on the fly, which is key to success in combat.”
On a lower level, the training taught the Marines to support the unit internally and the importance of communication between the different elements of the attacking force.
“We worked with support elements to suppress the targets, which allowed us to move to take out the objectives,” said Sgt. Cameron Golden, a squad leader with 3rd Platoon and Columbia, Md., native. “We also learned the importance of communication, even at the lowest level. For example, if that (private first class) isn’t relaying his ammo levels to his fire team leader and that information doesn’t make it up to the company commander, the commander doesn’t have a clear picture of the combat situation.”
After the attacks were completed, the sweat-drenched Marines marched back to the original staging area with their heads held high.