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Sgt. Jacob R. Ruggles, an assistant data clerk with Marine Air Control Squadron 2, moves to contact during the second day of a field exercise MACS-2 conducted at Combat Town aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18. Combat Town is a training facility used to increase proficiency while partrolling through urban environments.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

‘Eyes of the MAGTF’ return to rifleman roots; MACS-2 demonstrates rifleman abilities on field ops

25 Jan 2012 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 2 refreshed their basic rifleman skills during a field operation at Combat Town, here, Jan. 17-19.

More than 100 Marines divided into 12 squads to work through classes ranging from land navigation to hand and arm signals. They spent the first day setting up their camp and conducting rehearsals in preparation for the days to come.

“The first day of training is the building block for the next few days,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon R. Morrison, a squad leader for the field exercise. “We are operating a crawl-walk-run operation. The hand and arm signals we teach them help communicate when hearing is impaired due to inclement weather or if bombs are going off around you.”

After the Marines went through their first day of classes and training; they woke and began a series of scenarios. The squads worked on several focus areas including patrolling through the woods and room clearing using blank rounds.

“Being able to put the training we are taught into action instead of just sitting in a classroom has been a great opportunity and a great experience,” said Pfc. LeeAnna L. Longhini, an embarkation clerk with MACS-2. “This training gives us an opportunity to sharpen our skills. This exercise gives us training on skills we might need while deployed and things we can use in everyday life, such as leadership skills.”

The main focus of the training evolution gave the noncommissioned officers and junior Marines the opportunity to get out there and lead their peers, said 2nd Lt. Brian Chwalisz, the officer in charge for the MACS-2 field exercise.

“They get a chance to get out of their normal routines and embark on a secondary mission they might have to conduct while deployed in combat,” said Chwalisz.

The training also focused on basic tactical and survival skills.

“This is critical training that allows you to deploy at any time and be able to provide support or clear a room if needed,” said Chwalisz. “It also breaks up the monotony of the work day, builds camaraderie among the Marines and helps prove the MACS-2 team can operate in any job they need to complete and accomplish.”

The training concluded with the Marines using rifles loaded with simunitions to clear Combat Town of role players acting as aggressors.

“Every part of this training we conducted is extremely important,” said Chwalisz. “I can’t stress the importance of noncommissioned officer leadership. During this training the staff noncommissioned officers and officers were just support personnel. The sergeants and below made the decisions of how the mission was going to be accomplished and what each Marine’s individual mission would be.

“This mission was a success,” he added. “No matter what their job or specialty is they all have a common trait and bond; they are all basic riflemen, and I hope they all took away some traits to help them become great leaders.”

After the shooting stopped, the Marines of MACS-2 cleaned up all the spent rounds and packed up their gear. They traveled back to their headquarters where they were debriefed and returned to their work sections.

“We have spent three days getting to do the job all Marines are trained to do,” said Longhini. “We got to be riflemen for a few days and get out of the normal routine of our work days. It showed us junior Marines that we do have the ability to lead.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point