MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - On a chilly late-January day, two Marines using a defense advanced GPS receiver worked their way through the Cherry Point Carolina pines.
Cpl. Adam Mastrogiovanni and Lance Cpl. Larry Holmes, gunners with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, knew they were on track when they spotted an ammo can near a riverbank. It was the first of four they needed to find to complete their land navigation exercise.
Mastrogiovanni and Holmes are students in the battalion’s rigorous 13-day team leader course, which began Jan. 23 and is scheduled to end Friday. The course is designed to be mentally challenging and provide team leaders with the tools necessary to succeed in combat operations.
The course covers multiple skill sets in classroom and practical application scenarios, including aircraft identification, rules of engagement, quick reaction drills and live-fire exercises.
The most challenging and interesting component of the course, according to both Mastrogiovanni and Holmes, has been learning about the Link-16 system. The Link-16 is a military tactical data exchange network used to communicate real-time information across a battle zone.
“The Link 16 is extremely new to us, and it’s some high-tech stuff,” said Mastrogiovanni. “The capabilities that it gives Marines operating in a combat zone are incredible. It seems like something from the future.”
With all the challenges they have overcome, and all the knowledge they have gained, the Marines look forward to the challenges that lie ahead, and are motivated to complete the course.
“It’s been hard, but it is worth every second,” said Mastrogiovanni. “I have learned so much about the capabilities of our data systems, and I already feel better prepared to lead my Marines onto the battlefield some day.
“As Marines, we are all leaders,” he said. “This course is just helping us become better ones.”