JANUARY 26, 2017, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. – While rushing to locate and successfully complete eight different tasks all at different locations, 56 Marines with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment participated in a timed event known as advanced course preparation training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 23, 2017.
The event was a seven-mile course that served as an initial performance assessment and tested the Marines on basic infantry knowledge and skills. This assessment is a way for the Marines to know which skills they had to refine before they begin a military occupational specialty specific advanced course.
“We had to bring the Marines back to the basic skills,” said 1st Lt. Caleb Rich, executive officer of Echo Company, 2nd Bn., 8th Marines. “This was an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the Marines so they know exactly what to focus on when they move to their MOS-specific advanced courses.”
This is the first time any company in 2nd Bn., 8th Marines conducted this event; however, Marines who participated or organized it would like to see it become a prerequisite within the battalion and even the regiment.
“[This course] was a great idea to coordinate with the battalion,” Rich said. “Time and time again, you see Marines going into their advanced courses ill-prepared. I feel confident that the Marines who come through this two-week evolution are better set up for success as they enter into their advanced schools.”
Marines headed to their advanced courses agree this is a good way to ensure they are mentally and physically prepared for the challenges they will face.
“This course was extremely helpful in terms of preparing me to go to [Advanced Machine-gunners’ Course,” said Lance Cpl. Gordon Adams, a machine-gunner with the unit. “This course was a very broad spectrum of everything that infantrymen need to know and it helped me realize things that I need to work on. This is just you and you alone. It really tests you physically and mentally throughout.”
The event included a wide range of tasks from Marine Corps Martial Art Program ground fighting to land navigation, and from understanding combat orders to properly operating a PRC-152 communications radio. The various tests and tasks showed Marines what they could improve on even after they finished their advanced courses.
“This course definitely opened my eyes to what I need to work on to better myself as a Marine,” said Cpl. Thomas Cornell, a rifleman with the unit. “This course set everybody up for success. Even if there’s a Marine who isn’t ready for his or her course yet, they’ll be able to see where they need work and train to become better versions of themselves.”
By Lance Cpl. Damarko Bone, II Marine Expeditionary Force