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Building blocks of infantry; starting with basics

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Third Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion finished up a 10-day training exercise, known as the Basic Infantry Individual Skills Package, at the Combat Center’s training ranges Aug. 30, 2011.

The mechanized infantry battalion brought their training down to the basics of an infantryman.

“We wanted to start our predeployment training package with the basics,” said Lt. Col. Mark Clingan, the battalion commander for 3rd LAR. “I wanted the entire battalion, regardless of [military occupational specialty] to be able to go back and do a review and refresher of all the basic infantry skills.”

Marines with the Wolfpack battalion had gone through three ranges, Range 107, Range 111 and Prospect, each with a set goal for them to achieve.

“Brilliance in the basics is the foundation for all the training that we do,” said 1st Lt. Curtis Sanderfer, the executive officer for Company D and the officer in charge of the squad competition. “We’re essentially evaluating all the skills that these Marines have learned throughout the BIISP.”

“I think [all the training] is important,” said the Chattanooga, Tenn., native. “If I had to identify one thing it would be the [improvised explosive device] training because it’s the biggest threat to Marines out in country.”

The Wolfpack incorporated buddy rushes, room clearing procedures and a squad competition that challenged the Marines’ capabilities to work as a team. The unit has been using every opportunity to train and learn before their upcoming deployment.

“We’re going back to the basics of fire and maneuver,” said Sgt. Jose Zuniga, a squad leader with Co. E, about Range 107. “We have basic riflemen in the back of our vehicles, so when we do kick them out of our vehicles they have to apply this.”

Zuniga incorporates his six years of experience as a infantry rifleman with the LAV crewman training, teaching basics of maneuvering and tying it in with an LAV platoon. It’s also his favorite part of the job.

“For the Marines that are [LAV crewmen] they’re getting the repetitiveness of one firing and one maneuvering, so everyone’s getting something out of this,” Zuniga added, who is originally from San Antonio, Texas.

The battalion endured the BIISP to learn job proficiency and begin their workup for their upcoming deployment.

“I want every Marine to walk away from this with some confidence,” said Clingan. “The BIISP is a point of departure to set us on the course for the rest of our predeployment program.”

Article by Cpl. William J. Jackson , Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms