Marines

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RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, Republic of Korea ? Cpl. Brian D. St. Amour, a fire team leader with Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, improves the camouflage of his fighting hole atop Manchu Hill during area defense training, March 15. After the construction of a fighting hole is complete, the positions must be camouflaged to conceal the Marines within. St. Amour is a Marquette, Mich. native. BLT 2/1 is the ground combat element of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Eric D. Arndt

Infantry prepares area defenses

16 Mar 2007 | Lance Cpl. Eric D. Arndt

Although cities have spread to every curve of the Earth, the broad majority of land surface is either complete or partial wilderness. Marines, who have fought in every clime and place since the Corps’ inception, will forever require training to repel enemy advances in a natural environment.

To refresh their ability to construct a traditional defensive position, Marines and sailors with Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, prepared platoon area defenses during a two-day training event at Manchu Hill here, March 15-16.

Initial construction of a position begins with the platoon or company commander. After an initial site reconnaissance, the commander will delegate their smaller sections to different sides of the area, ensuring the defense encompasses all 360 degrees of the surrounding environment.

The task then falls on the platoon and squad leaders to choose the actual positions their Marines will dig into to support the defense.

Although many factors like soil, terrain and elevation will affect the process, the anatomy of a standard fighting hole boils down to basic principles, said Lance Cpl. Alexander T. Laskey, an M-249 squad automatic weapon gunner with 1st Platoon.

“In general it’s one M-16 long, two M-16s wide and deep enough to conceal the tallest man up to his armpits,” Laskey said. “You also want to have a good position overlooking the area before you set up your fields of fire.”

After the construction of a fighting hole is complete, the positions must be camouflaged to conceal the Marines within, Laskey explained. The position should be made to look like the terrain behind it, and should not be over-camouflaged because humans instinctually look at terrain that is out of the ordinary.

The construction of fighting holes – a skill cemented in the minds of infantrymen through repetition – is essential for Marines to remain ready for anything, according to 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Brown, the first platoon commander.

“The Marine Corps is oriented on (Military Operations in Urban Terrain), but we still need to prepare for anything required for us to fight the Global War on Terrorism,” the Colombus native said.

“The Marines need to remember the defense fundamentals, so in case we get called to Iraq or Afghanistan we can still execute the mission.”

The BLT, currently serving as the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s ground combat element, is currently deployed to the Republic of Korea to conduct pre-deployment training and participate in Exercise Foal Eagle 2007 to improve joint readiness and interoperability between U.S. and ROK military forces.

Headquarters Marine Corps