Marines patrol the woods of Quantico

Marines patrol the woods of Quantico

2ndLt Miles Stebbins, right flanker for a security patrol, provides security for fellow students during a patrol exercise at The Basic School on Feb. 24, 2014. The field exercise was the second of the course and gave the Marines an opportunity to practice what they have been taught about patrols. Photo by LCpl Samuel Ellis.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Feb. 24, 2014) - Quickly and silently, 2ndLt Miles Stebbins, a student at The Basic School, emerged from a tree line and lowered himself onto the cool, muddy ground while providing security for the rest of his squad during a field exercise at TBS on Feb. 24, 2014.

Marines from Alpha Company were participating in the second field exercise of their six-month training evolution, highlighting patrols and providing an opportunity for the Marines to practically apply what they have been learning in the classroom.

"The basic principle for this field exercise, today specifically, is for them to learn and understand and execute the fundamentals of patrolling," said Capt Stephen Greenberg, staff platoon commander. "As we've learned in the past 13 years, everyone at some point may be patrolling or outside the wire."

Cpl Jared Hoinkis, a mortarman and two-year veteran of working with the TBS lieutenants, added that this training gives the officers other beneficial experiences as well.

"[The purpose is] to get basic knowledge as a platoon commander so they can go out to the fleet and execute these exercises, if need be," said Hoinkis. "It also helps them build that knowledge of what to expect from their squad leaders and noncommissioned officers when they get to the fleet."

Other TBS companies have successfully completed training evolutions with enlisted Marines assisting in the lieutenants' training, but this is the first time Alpha Co. has done so, and according to Greenberg, it has been an asset having the NCOs there.

"This is one of the initial companies to have [enlisted Marines acting as] squad and platoon advisors integrated into the platoons," said Greenberg. "When these Marines get to the fleet, their advisors will be those NCOs and staff NCOs. It ultimately allows them to start gaining that relationship early on so, when they eventually get to the fleet, they will feel comfortable and go to them for advice as they need it."

Some of the lieutenants of Alpha Co. appreciate the value of the woodland maneuvers and NCO communication, but also see a bigger picture.

"Everything we learn out here is essentially leadership," said 2ndLt James Clarizio, TBS student. "It comes down to taking care of Marines and that's universal throughout the Marine Corps."

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