CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – Force reconnaissance Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed a close quarters tactics course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 9, 2013.
The five-week course, which covered weapons firing, room clearing and breaching techniques, followed 18 days of advanced combat training with Tier 1 Group at the end of June.
22nd MEU security element Marines were also attached to the platoon throughout the course.
“I really want us to focus on good integration with the security element and getting them up to our level,” said Capt. Alex Usztics, force reconnaissance platoon commander and native of Dauphin, Pa.
The platoon practiced clearing rooms with two-man teams then increased to platoon-sized building clearings.
“A two-man clear is the very minimum amount of people you can go into a room with,” said Sgt. Brandon Temple, assistant team leader and native of Erwin, Tenn. “When only two men go into a room, each person has to do everything correctly.”
The Marines added more men to the teams, completing five-man room clears before moving on to platoon-sized building clears. Special Operations Training Group instructors worked with the Marines to instill muscle memory.
Getting everyone to act as one can be tough, said Temple.
“You have people with different experience levels and different schools that they’ve been to,” said Temple. “It’s never smooth sailing, but you’re always learning something new.”
The platoon also practiced how to enter a breached room and breach a blocked doorway using mechanical tools, explosives and an exothermic cutting rod.
It is essential for every Marine and Sailor in his platoon to have a good foundation, since any member of the platoon could be the one entering the room first, said Usztics.
The force reconnaissance platoon is also scheduled to take part in an upcoming two-week visit, board, search and seizure course, training in maritime boarding actions and tactics.
The MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.