COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, Japan -- Combat Logistics Company 36 Marines and augments engaged in squad movements and live fire training to increase weapon proficiency and enhance small unit leadership during Exercise Dragon Fire 2014 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, July 17.
Dragon Fire is CLC-36’s annual Battle Skills Training exercise that focuses on improving the individual and collective combat skills of CLC-36 service members with an emphasis on weapons familiarization training.
“Small unit leadership in a squad fire movement is critical. You have about 12 to 14 Marines who, even on the range when there’s no brush, are on a line and they have to be able to move together as one unit,” said 1st Lt. Chase Long, supply officer and range officer-in-charge with CLC-36. “The far left limit and the far right limit can’t talk to each other due to distance and other obstacles, so you need those small unit leaders to be able to control and navigate the unit and tell the fire team where they need to be. They do this not only for safety, but to keep the unit moving together and keep it cohesive.”
Long said small unit leaders need to be effective communicators and get personal with their junior Marines to know how to train them effectively.
“Not everyone is motivated by the same thing, so you have to be able to know your Marines, how to train them and how to talk to them, so you can achieve the standards set forth by the command,” said Long.
Cpl. Alexis Alcaraz, a field radio operator with CLC-36 and the fire team leader for third team, second platoon, first squad, said that as a fire team leader, his mission was to assist the squad leader by relaying messages and ensuring his team engaged the enemy, pushed forward and stayed in line.
“We practice over and over again to ensure these maneuvers become second nature, so if we potentially get attacked by an enemy force, they’ll be able to perform well due to muscle memory,” said Alcaraz.
Long said while Marines have to be physical fit, unit cohesion is necessary because when moving downrange with live rounds, Marines need to have the confidence in those on their left and right, saying, “That way, not only are they accomplishing the mission, but they’re able to focus on their specific role because they know their buddy is doing the same thing.”
Alcaraz said the training helped build his skills as a small unit leader and an NCO.
“This has helped me build trust with my junior Marines and get to know them personally,” said Alcaraz. “It’s a great tool I now have and when it comes time for me to lead Marines in a time of war, I feel I’ll be ready.”