Cutting Edge sharpens skills

Cutting Edge sharpens skills

Pvt William Brown, rifleman, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, provides security for mortarmen during a squad supported attack at Range 410A Feb. 26, 2013 Photo by Cpl Ali Azimi.

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, CALIF. (March 1, 2013) Marines with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conducted a series of day and night live-fire squad supported attacks at Range 410A Feb. 26.

Squad sized exercises are integral to sharpening the skills of Marines for any upcoming deployment they may face.

"In Afghanistan a lot of the operation are at the squad level," said Sgt Dominic Epkey, squad leader, Company K, 3/7.

Training at the squad level also allows squad leaders to see the proficiency of their Marines.

Command is key for live-fire maneuver, according to Epkey. It's important to be confident that his team leaders will carry out the tasks he assigns them.

The exercise started with a helicopter insert at a nearby landing zone. The Marines departed the helos and made their way to the range, where they grabbed their ammo and headed toward their objective.

The squads utilized mortars and machine guns as they maneuvered through the trenches and suppressed the simulated enemy fire.

The Marines faced many obstacles, such as concertina wire and the rough rocky terrain while suppressing and evading the simulated fire from the enemy.

They were also forced to deal with simulated casualties. Squad leaders took charge and assigned Marines to evacuate the casualty as others provided security for them.

Working together, 3/7 Marines were able to meet their objectives and successfully finish the exercise, but their day was not done yet.

With practice and repetition of the live-fire maneuvers the squads will continue to get better, said Espkey.

Their daytime shoot was followed by a night portion, pushing Marines to train further to harness their skills.

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