22nd MEU Marines “Blow the Rust off” Live-fire Range

1 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

“Moving,” yelled one Marine to another as he picked up his weapon and charged towards the distant targets.

The Marines bounded past each other, stopping only to kneel in the tall grass and provide cover fire for the next advancing Marine.   

Marines with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted live-fire training at a squad attack range and unknown distance range aboard Capu Midia, Romania, August 1, 2011.

The training was part of the Summer Storm Amphibious Bilateral Exercise 11, a five-day exercise, with Romanian Marines from the 307th Marine Infantry Battalion, to increase the interoperability between American and Romanian forces.

The unknown distance range allowed the Marines to battle site zero their weapons, practice their basic marksmanship and practice estimating the distance to their target.

“The training is pretty important because it’s taking us back to the basics of marksmanship,” said Cpl. Marlon Rutledge, a team leader with Echo Company and Modesto, Calif., native.  

The squad attack range allowed them to work on the fundamentals of moving as a squad such as communicating and bounding.

Communication is key and can become one of the most challenging parts of moving as a squad. Squad members have to overcome the sounds of their own weapons, the enemy’s weapons and the confusion that comes with a combat environment.

“The biggest challenge we face is communication,” said Rutledge. “We need to be able to communicate whether or not something has gone wrong or something has gone right. The communication today was great.”

Since deploying aboard USS Whidbey Island in March, the Marines haven’t had the chance to execute squad attacks because of the limited space.

“It’s pivotal for the Marines to get out here and do this training especially after being on ship for as long as they have,” said 1st Lt. Norman L. Renfro, the executive officer of Echo Company and San Antonio native. “The training that we do on ship is very helpful but we can’t maneuver.”

Though they haven’t been able to rehearse squad attacks on ship, the Marines still executed well.

“The Marines did an exceptional job,” said Renfro. “They were all able to achieve the mission. They blew my expectations out of the water.”

The Romanians also executed the squad attack and unknown distance ranges as the Marines watched.

“They blew me away,” said Renfro. “I was very pleasantly surprised. It was very humbling to see the amount of discipline and professionalism they showed.”

The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group serving as a potent, formidable and deterrent force who continues to train and improve their capability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.

The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.

Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and each is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to hostile environment or crisis.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit