Small unit leadership is the backbone of the U.S. Marine Corps. Moreover, because of how the battlefield has evolved from jungle and desert landscapes to fights in urban close-quarters areas, squad-level small unit leadership is vital. Thus, the training and development of small-unit leadership and leaders is as important as the development of new weapons to adapt to these environments.
U.S Marines are the best at both. Here, Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conduct a close-quarters shooting range during the Raid Leader’s Course at Camp Pendleton, Calif. in September 2016. Marines in small unit leadership roles learned advanced infantry skills during the three-week course so they can take can go back to their units and instruct junior Marines.
Check out the video below:
“We’re learning how to do close quarters tactics,” explained Cpl. Alex Tamboury in the video. “Going through basic shooting fundamentals, learning tactics that we can teach to our junior Marines. Getting them ready for shooting in this kind environment.”
The training is different than a normal range day for a number of reasons.
“The Marine Corps does a great job when it comes to regular marksmanship,” said Kevin Harras, the Raid-Leaders course instructor. “However, this is marksmanship when it comes to your ability to put fast, accurate shots on target as quickly as possible while doing movements that are indicative of this environment.”
The full-fledged training program puts troops through the paces as they master the art of maneuvering, shooting, and engaging in close-quarters combat.
“We start them off with very basics, and then we progress until we can get them to the point where we feel they reached a level to go inside an enclosure and clear it while they’re on the move,” Harras said.
At the end of it all, the purpose of the course is to transfer the knowledge gained from this course to future junior Marines.
“We’re going to be able to spread that good knowledge base through our battalion,” Harras explains. “It’s those people like us that are able to pass down that knowledge to the juniors and get them ready for the future.”