Crestview Marine using shock-absorbing concrete during live fire training

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 at 03:14 PM.

The company moved fluidly through dozens of buildings and eliminated every target in their path. A tremendous amount of trust and confidence is put in each Marine when clearing a building with live ammunition. Whether a Marine has recently graduated The School of Infantry or has completed several combat deployments, every Marine is accountable for the safety of one another.

“It’s pretty intense being in a leadership position,” said Lance Cpl. Nick Beckham, a team leader with Alpha Co. and a native of Waynesboro, Tenn. “It’s a lot of fun being the guy leading Marines through training and combat, but at the same time it’s a lot of responsibility. I’ve already had my experience in combat from this past deployment, so I try to pass off the things I learned to the new guys in the unit who haven’t deployed yet.”

Accompanying each squad of Marines was an infantryman from 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, who recently returned from a combat deployment to Afghanistan. To ensure 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, received the most up-to-date information and training for their upcoming deployment, the infantrymen constantly evaluated tactics and decision making skills from the platoon level down to the fire team level.

“The evaluators give us things that we could improve on for every single range that we do, and also things that we’ve done well that we need to continue doing well,” Bergeron said. “This allows key individual leaders down to the fire team level to understand the good and bad things they’ve done so they don’t make the same mistake twice.”

The Marines ultimately cleared the town, and shortly after received a thorough debrief from the evaluators. The evaluators helped the Marines to the best of their ability and shared tactics that proved successful during their deployment. The company took a vast amount of knowledge away from the day of training and transitioned immediately to preparing for their next range.

The battalion is slated to continue predeployment training before deploying to Afghanistan this Spring.

Cpl. Joseph Scanlan is a journalist with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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