CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Every Marine is a rifleman. This simple phrase carries a lot of weight and is what sets the Marine Corps apart from any other branch. But in order to uphold this tradition, Marines must constantly train in the basics, which is why Marines with 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, underwent the Basics Combat Skills course.
The course, which was held aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., is designed to refresh units in the basics of Marine Corps combat skills in order to keep them ready for battle.
“We have fallen into the pretense that every Marine is a rifleman regardless of rank or (Military Occupational Specialty),” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan P. Couturier, a combat skills trainer with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st MLG. “Every Marine has been taught these skills in their career. We are just rehashing what they learned and trying to get them to a sustainable point where they can go back to their unit and conduct these skills efficiently. Every Marine should know these things. It is something that we all have to do as a Marine.”
Throughout the Basic Combat Skills Course, the Marines reviewed a broad range of subjects, including night and day land navigation, improvised explosive device awareness, establishing security, establishing a forward operating base, standing up a quick reaction force and unit command and control center, and vehicle and personal search procedures.
“I think it’s going to remind them that they are Marines and they don’t just sit at a shop and turn wrenches all day,” said Staff Sgt. Bridget Bellman, a heavy equipment staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge with 1st Maint. Bn., 1st MLG, and a native of Saint Charles, Minn.
Throughout the course, Marines are reminded of the importance of leadership skills at all levels.
“Everything here is generated and built around the premise of small-unit leadership,” said Couturier, a 41-year-old native of Greenville, Mich. “Small unit leaders are the ones ensuring the mission gets accomplished. I hope that when they leave the course they come out with a better understanding of what it takes as a small-unit leader to carry out that mission to take care of the Marines.”
During the final exercise, Marines started off with a written test and later conducted a patrol, which incorporated all the topics covered in the course.
The instructors role-played as aggressors to give a realistic scenario for the patrolling squads.
Upon completion of the course, Marines gained a better understanding of basic combat skills that are essential to mission accomplishment.
“I think each Marine can take so much from every bit of this class,” said Bellman. “Just being with the Marines under the stars and getting back to basics is amazing in itself, but it also gives everyone a little more confidence in roles that they have in the Marine Corps.”