4th Marines' Regimental Schools add depth to pre-deployment program

15 Jun 2007 | Lance Cpl. Bryan A. Peterson

Since January, the 4th Marine Regiment’s Regimental Schools’ pre-deployment training program has prepared Marines and sailors for what they might encounter in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

But as the Global War on Terrorism continues, a constantly changing battlefield requires service members to constantly adjust to enemy tactics.

That’s why 10 instructors with Regimental Schools recently made a three-week trip to Marine Corps bases in California to learn the latest in battlefield tactics to pass on to Marines and sailors here.

The team spent May 3- 26 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms to gain knowledge and information to incorporate it into the schools’ pre-deployment training curriculum.

“We used down time in between PTPs to travel to California to receive the ‘latest and greatest’ about terrorist tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Sgt. Chris E. Unger, the Regimental Schools noncommissioned officer in charge for the urban assault course and combat marksmanship program. “With the war changing, we need to keep ourselves up to speed.”

Unger said the trip was based on improving the curriculum of the course by providing more in-depth training.

The updated training schedule will include changes to vehicle control point procedures, the combat marksmanship program, convoy operations and the urban assault course.

An example of the changes will be the addition of procedures for clearing weapons jams during room clearing operations, a recent trend identified in combat operations, Unger said.

“When a Marine’s rifle jams in a chaotic situation, he could be in trouble,” he said. “We will now put more emphasis on stoppages to decrease that problem.”

Training in new enemy improvised explosive device tactics are also on the agenda at the schools, said Lance Cpl. Ganesh S. Tulshi, an instructor for convoy operations. The course will include new tactics to decrease the enemy’s ability to use IEDs, one of the biggest threats on today’s battlefield.

However, new changes to the curriculum are not only the result of the Marines trip stateside. Regimental Schools graduates also provide feedback to help improve the course and many of the suggested changes are also being incorporated, Unger said.

For example, at the end of each PTP, the Marines and sailors will now be tested in a two-day final exercise that requires them to incorporate all elements of the course in a tactical scenario, Unger said. The exercise used to be only one day but former students recommended the extension to allow Marines and sailors the opportunity to complete the scenario a second time to correct mistakes made the first time.

Marines going through PTP will also train in more low-light and close-quarter battle situations, said Staff Sgt. Robert E. Frederick, the chief instructor for Regimental Schools. He said the training will polish Marines’ combat efficiency and keep them one step ahead of the enemy.

“We will train these Marines and sailors to the best of our ability to defeat the enemy,” Frederick said. “We are just trying to keep our training in line with enemy tactics in country. As the battlefield changes, so does our training.”

Headquarters Marine Corps