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Cpl. Derek Greer, squad leader, Weapons Company, 3/4, commands his Marines doing rushes through the dry lake bed near the physical fitness track May 3.

Photo by Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

3/4 Weapons Company prepares for any mission

3 May 2006 | Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

“I’m up, he sees me, I’m down,” screamed a group of Marines as they stormed the desolate dry lake bed near the physical fitness track. While a commonly used phrase for infantry units practicing squad rushes, it is one not often heard from a group of 81mm mortar men.Marines from 81mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conducted convoy training in the dry lake bed May 3.The convoy training — while not a normal mission for Weapons Company — comes from a revised training schedule to prepare the Marines for a myriad of possible mission scenarios on their next deployment.“I adapted their training to deal with what we’d possibly have to do in Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Rosendo Garza, platoon commander, 3/4, Weapons, and Chicago native. “This is not outside their realm of training, it’s just different than their MOS.”Sgt. Jesse Doze, acting platoon sergeant, told the squad leaders what he wanted accomplished each day for training and it became the squad leaders’ job to ensure their Marines were properly trained.“We’re speeding them up on how a convoy works, and vehicle patrols in Iraq, how they work, and maneuvers such as assaulting through an element or turning around in a uniform fashion,” said squad leader Cpl. Derek Greer a Houston native.Doze expressed his confidence in his Marines’ abilities and their willingness to train for whatever mission they may have to do.“We may have a chance to become a CAAT [combined anti-armor team] and do convoy ops,” said Doze, a Topeka, Kansas, native.A CAAT is a mobile assault team consisting of humvees mounted with 50-caliber machine guns and tube launched optically tracked wire guided missiles.“They’re basically the ones annihilating everything,” he said. “If we have to, we’ll dismount and start doing rushes on the enemy. Everybody knows how to do it already, but we need to make sure they’re focused on where their weapon is, you know, the basics of SOI [School of Infantry].”The Marines of Weapons Company all had their own thoughts on the training, but the overall feeling among the Marines was motivation and enthusiasm throughout the day.“I enjoy getting out, getting the blood going, breathing hard,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew Biesman, mortar man and St. Louis native. “I just wish we could pop off some rounds every now and then.”From those who’ve been there before, the training will prepare the entire platoon, new blood and old blood, for whatever mission they get handed while deployed.“It’s good stuff as long as training is relevant to what we do over there,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Neusbaum, mortar man. “We’re a mortar platoon, but we really don’t do that over there. It’s more like ECP [entry control point] or convoy or foot patrols. It’s kind of good that we’re starting to get more in depth with what we actually do over there, so it will become second nature.“There are only two things we need to be focused on, what our job is going to be over there, perfect on that, and have everybody, not just one or two from the unit, but have everybody know the basic language of the country,” said Neusbaum, a Coldwater, Mich., native. “Everyone should know their basic greetings, and commands like stop, step back, don’t run, slow down, things like that.”With the face of the war on terrorism changing daily, a Marine’s duties must change in accordance to each new threat. As such, training must also include the same concept of change if a Marine is to be fully prepared before their feet hit the dirt in a combat zone.“That’s the nature of the beast in this war,” said Garza. “You never know, but the burden becomes making sure they’re proficient at their MOS and proficient at everything other than their MOS, like convoys, patrolling, dismounting, and fire and movement.”Regardless of the difficulties in training for an unknown mission, Garza expressed his faith in his noncommissioned officers and junior Marines to handle the training and prepare for any upcoming mission.“These guys have to learn everything and still be extremely good at their MOS, which they are — they rocked division schools,” he said. “They did a great job out their. I have some amazing corporals.”
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