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Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), move to their objective area at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 16, 2012. BLT 3/2 conducted an infantry platoon battle course working in a coordinated effort involving mortars, machine guns, and rifles to engage, and suppress an enemy while isolating a seizing an objective. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. BLT 3/2 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013.

Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels

Battalion Landing Team 3/2 conducts an infantry platoon battle course

16 Sep 2012 | Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted an infantry platoon battle course integrating live fire with support from its weapons platoon at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 16, 2012.

“It is an opportunity for company staff to work with the platoons to see how well our training over the last few months has – not necessarily culminated, but how far it has gone,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jerome Bostick, a Savannah, Ga., native and company gunnery sergeant for Kilo Company, BLT 3/2. “Part of this pre-deployment training process accomplishes some of the 26th MEU’s mission essential tasks that need to be accomplished, grading our ability to move and communicate, medicate and evacuate.”

The MET this exercise supported was being able to conduct offensive operations. Every MEU has a mission essential task list that focuses on necessary capabilities for each element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Wartchow, Doylestown, Pa., native and BLT 3/2’s Weapons Company platoon sergeant said, “Today consisted of multiple company-level objectives. They’re painted to us as technical vehicles and our portion was support by fire with the 60mm mortar(s). We were one of the first squads of the western portion of the range. As they were patrolling up, the first squad engaged the enemy, isolated the objective, and secured it. That was our company objective bravo.”

With multiple weapon systems in play on the simulated battlefield, the teams had to work together in order to accomplish the mission.

“Once that was done, the mortar men pushed through to a point of defilade to a shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon that went off that destroyed an enemy heavy machine gun bunker,” said Wartchow. “That provided us that ability to move into our fire position cutting off any enemy egress from the north while the rest of the platoon came out and secured a trench line which was BLT objective one; at the same time our machine gunners were off on the eastern side of the range and in their support by fire mission engaging the trench line until the 0311s got into the trench.”

With all elements of the BLT working together in a coordinated effort, the basic training these Marines received was a critical part of the evolutions success.

“Our mission to support the MEU is to basically prepare for everything,” said Bostick. “As long as we can turn around and execute the basics there’s not much we can’t accomplish. You can morph the basics into anything to dictate or shape the battlefield the way you want it. Whether it be through direct action or just a show of force, its good letting people know what we are capable of or that we can do what we are trained to do at places like Fort Pickett.”

With the hard training these Marines have been conducting, the results have proven successful.

“Everytime we get an opportunity to come out and actually put rounds down range, on a live fire range – it shows … how well we do our job,” said Bostick. “It shows our actions – that come together to complete a single task or mission. It is the individuals that come together to accomplish a common goal, and everyone has a part and everyone has a job.”

26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)