Marine Corps Base Hawaii --
Under an overcast sky with the waves crashing in the distance, the Marines of force reconnaissance platoon, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted close quarter tactics shooting at the Kaneohe Bay range training facility, May 13.
The Marines from Okinawa, Japan, were thankful for the break from the sun as they performed training drills to maintain proficiency. They aimed at paper targets using two weapons, .45-caliber pistols and M4 carbine rifles.
Capt. Brian VanHoose, the platoon commander and a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said their shooting drills are practice for direct action raids.
“All of this shooting is designed to engage the enemy in a close proximity,” VanHoose said. “We train in close quarters tactics with primary and secondary weapons, the rifle and pistol. We utilize similar tactics during visit, board, search and seizure.”
The Marines focused on their stance and movements during live-fire drills. The importance of focusing on their positioning enables muscle memory. The more they practice, the easier it becomes second nature for conducting actual missions.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Sigala, a force recon platoon team leader and native of Anthony, N.M., said the training at K-Bay range is about keeping up their standards.
“Our training is for missions capability,” Sigala said. “Accurate shooting needs to be maintained for whatever mission arises.”
VanHoose said they have been training together for a year and a half, and this is their culminating training package. They have been in Hawaii for four weeks conducting exercises to sustain their skills.
“Training in Hawaii is different from training in Okinawa,” VanHoose said. “Because of the capabilities the facilities offer in Hawaii, the training here is excellent. We were able to conduct VBSS training with a retired Navy fleet, and parachute training in which we performed three military freefalls and two low level static line jumps, including a water jump. It’s difficult to train in Okinawa because of the weather, and in Kaneohe Bay everything is close together, which makes things quicker and easier.”
In between drills, the Marines reloaded magazines and discussed how their overall training went in Hawaii.
Cpl. Randall Stevenson, a recon scout with force recon platoon and native of Baton Rouge, La., said this was his second time coming to Hawaii.
“It’s great to come here to train because we do more diverse training here than in Okinawa,” Stevenson said.
Sgt. Micah Crowell, a radio operator with force recon platoon, said this was his first time in Hawaii and wasn’t sure what to expect.
“Hawaii is a beautiful place with great weather and I loved being able to train here,” Crowell said.
“ Performing jumps was the best so far because the adrenaline rush is addicting. The scenery here is incredible.”
Sigala said training in Hawaii was especially beneficial for the Marines of force recon platoon to test what they’ve learned.
“Training here gives them a sense of being able to train outside of what they are used to,” Sigala said. “They understand that everywhere we go, there are restrictions, and things we have to overcome.”