March 23, 2012
By Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle, Marine Corps Bases Japan
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa — More than 40 Marines with various units took part in predeployment training on Camp Hansen March 12-21.
The purpose of the training was to prepare the Marines for their upcoming deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Marines are individual augmentees who will serve in different units supporting combat operations later this year.
The Marines conducted improvised explosive device training, table 3 shooting, culture classes and combat lifesaver training.
“I think what I took away the most from this predeployment training is what we learned about IEDs,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholaus G. Fouts, an electrician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We learned the different types, nomenclature and what to do when we spot one.”
Without this training, Marines would not be prepared to go into combat, according to Fouts.
“This prepares you for so many different things that could happen and teaches you what to do in those situations,” he said. “Knowing is half the battle to me, and I am happy that they make this training mandatory – I wish they would extend it.”
The Marines participating in the training are excited to learn as much as possible before their upcoming deployments, according to Cpl. Rashad J. Thompson, an administrative clerk, Installation Personnel Administration Center, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler.
“I am very excited to be participating in this training,” Thompson said. “It’s not every day that I can come out and shoot table 3, go through IED training or combat lifesaver (training).”
“It is something you look forward to when you join the Marine Corps, and it feels great to be able to do it,” he said.
Table 3 consists of courses of fire including firing while moving and after pivoting, firing at unknown distances and a course of night fire using a rifle combat optic system.
For some of the Marines, using the RCOs with their rifles is challenging but gets easier with practice, according to Cpl. Rafelina Y. BlancoRodriguez, a warehouse clerk, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st MAW.
“I learned a lot about how to use the RCO effectively,” said BlancoRodriguez. “Once you understand how it works and use it properly, it is very simple and helpful to use.”
The Marines each feel the training challenges them differently but have learned everything they need to be successful while deployed, according to Fouts.
“Combat lifesaver is important to me because if another Marine and the corpsman go down, then it is up to you to help them,” said Fouts.
“IED training was the most difficult part of this so far,” said Thompson. “It teaches you to maintain your situational awareness.”
Despite the difficulties the Marines faced during the training, they agree that the training is essential for them.
“This training makes you feel safer – better prepared – to go into combat,” said BlancoRodriguez.
“It is definitely a must-do for Marines deploying,” said Thompson. “It ensures we are prepared for anything and everything that can happen.”