Training in the United States Marine Corps is difficult under the best of conditions. Add in the difficulty of darkness, and true Excellence is forged. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder and Host, Magnifying Excellence Podcast.
After months of preparation and planning, 2nd Marine Division conducted the first iteration of night live-fire training on range G-36 on May 23. Range G-36 opened in December 2020 as Camp Lejeune’s first company-level battle course. Since its debut, units have run the course only in the daytime due to the challenging and unfamiliar layout, including dense tree line and uneven terrain making up the majority of the training area.
Maneuvering company assets in the dark, which include combat engineers, heavy weaponry, mortars, and vehicles with Combined Anti-Armor Team, requires months of training in order to successfully seize and hold objectives swiftly and safely.
“To be the first battalion to conduct the range at night is something we take a lot of pride in,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Tarleton, Echo Company platoon sergeant.
Under cover of darkness, being accountable took on new meaning and challenges.
“Keeping accountability while trying to maintain fireteam integrity, and understanding where the supporting and adjacent units are, is extremely challenging at night,” said Sgt. Sam Griffith, a squad leader with Echo Company. “As a small unit leader, you have to identify these things on the deck, fix it on the fly, debrief after, and correct the mistakes that you’ve made; that’s how you get better every time.”