MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Loud snaps and ear-ringing bursts repeatedly echo from the metal bowels of a large warehouse-like training facility at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 19, 2013.
The sounds of gunfire and small explosions issued forth as more than 120 Company B, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion Marines completed the two-week live-fire training exercise, which included one week of combat marksmanship training before moving to the live-fire facility.
“They’re going through close-quarters combat training, learning to clear rooms,” said 1st Lt. Dennis Graziosi, who led and supervised the training. “They start with dry firing, then (simulated ammunition) and then live fire. Because of the nature of this unit, it’s important for these Marines to get this training.”
Throughout the two weeks, the Marines learned and were evaluated on room clearing tactics, close-quarters marksmanship, and several room-to-room procedures, such as dealing with multiple rooms or hallways.
“I’m new here, so this is good for me to be able to get this in,” said Cpl. Taylor Leaphart, Co. B squad automatic weapon gunner. “It’s a big help. I learned a lot. I didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge or experience with close-quarters operations.”
“They also have to assess the rooms and identify threats, as there is a civilian target in there,” said Graziosi, a 26-year-old native of Altoona, Penn. “And they’re learning flash bang procedures. Up to this point, many of them haven’t used flash bangs before.”
Each two- or four-man team was given two flash grenades to use at its own discretion during the live fire training and each was required to use at least one for evaluation purposes.
“Some guys on my team who have been in longer than me haven’t even done this before or have never used flash bangs,” said Leaphart, a 23-year-old native of Gastonia, N.C. “It’s really going to help us to get used to all this now.”
Leaphart said he thinks the best way to learn to handle situations like what was simulated in the live-fire facility is to practice the tactics and scenarios as realistically as possible, which the training accomplished.
“I think they’ve done really well,” said Graziosi. “It’s pretty impressive to see them at the beginning of the training and then see where they are now.”