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MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS – Cpl. Kyle Smith, a radio reconnaissance team operator with Radio Reconnaissance Platoon, 3rd Radio Battalion, scans a tree line after swimming two kilometers in the Pacific Ocean during a Radio Reconnaissance Operator’s Course aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, June 15, 2017. For 13 weeks, Marines conducted the Radio Reconnaissance Operator’s Course, utilizing various training areas to prepare themselves when they embed with a reconnaissance platoon. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jesus Sepulveda Torres)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Luke Kuennen

Radio Reconnaissance Operator’s Course trains amphibious warriors of the Pacific

22 Jun 2017 | Lance Cpl. Luke Kuennen Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Marines with Radio Reconnaissance Platoon, 3rd Radio Battalion conducted various amphibious training exercises during the Radio Reconnaissance Operator Course aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows June 15, 2017.
The training focused on safe surf passage with the zodiac inflatable craft, swimming, and procedures for making landfall and securing a beach.
“The exercise we just completed was an evaluated 2 kilometer fin,” said Cpl. Samuel Perry, a radio reconnaissance team operator with the platoon. “When we got to the shore, we worked as a buddy pair of two scout swimmers. One held security while the other took his fins off. Then we rotated and took the beach by force.”
For the exercise, Marines were given an hour to make it to the shoreline from the insertion point carrying their weapons, dry uniforms, and a 50 pound sandbag. In addition to swimming over a mile with more than 65 pounds of gear, the Marines also had the unpredictability of the ocean to consider.
“It’s way different than the pool, that’s for sure,” said Cpl. Ryan Ehlers, an RRT operator with the platoon. “When you get out there, some of the swells get pretty big. You think you’re just going to ride over the top of it, and all of a sudden you get a face full of saltwater. You just have to cough it up, spit it out, and keep going.”
Despite the difficulty and challenges of their exercises, the Marines in the course feel privileged to have the opportunity to train at such a high level.
“I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Lance Cpl. Collin Covington, an RRT operator with the platoon. “I’ve been pushed beyond a lot of limits, more than I thought I would be before joining. It’s been tough, but I’ve learned so much, and it’s the best job I could possibly have right now.”
This training is critical to increasing the combat readiness and effectiveness of the unit, as well as positively impacting unit cohesion. It also serves to maintain the high standards that radio reconnaissance teams and reconnaissance elements are known to adhere to, said Sgt. Antuan D. Martin, the lead instructor of the course.
In addition to upholding individual standards, Martin aims to make his Marines understand each of their roles fully and be prepared for any situation they may face.
“I want them to grow as a team, as well as individually,” Martin said. “When they are put in real life situations, it won’t be the hardest thing they’ve ever done.”           

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