Receiving Co. observes MCT to prepare boot camp grads: DIs discover new things about combat training at infantry school
By Lance Cpl. Dorian Gardner
| | May 08, 2007
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Receiving Company Marines loaded a bus leaving the depot for Camp Pendleton, Calif, March 2, expecting annual training in the gas chamber. They soon found out their company first sergeant had something else in mind. Receiving Co. staff and drill instructors spent the morning with instructors from the School of Infantry learning about the training new Marines go through before hitting the fleet. "We went so (drill instructors) could intelligently prepare the recruits," said Gunnery Sgt. Bernard Dogan, Receiving Co. gunnery sergeant. Marines greeted the SOI instructors at battalion classrooms that morning. First Sgt. Ronald Halcovich, acting Marine Combat Training Battalion sergeant major, opened with a brief introduction to the mission of SOI instructors and what the training entails. One of the newer aspects of MCT that caught record-book clerk Cpl. Tiffany A. Gallegos' attention was the guardian angel, which is a Marine who posts outside camp and watches over the area from a concealed position for any suspicious activity. This concept is commonly used in Iraq, and its training has recently been weaved into SOI. "We've developed the training to better prepare the Marines for what they might see in Iraq," said Halcovich. Another new MCT facet has been the introduction of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Many Receiving Co. Marines did not train under this program when they originally attended the school years ago. Additionally, Dogan said marksmanship training at MCT has made significant strides. In March 1990, when Dogan went through MCT, the marksmanship portion of the training was extremely basic, sticking to the safety rules and weapons handling. "MCT has moved forward in the right direction," said Dogan. Infantry Marines in his day had to go through MCT before joining Infantry Training Battalion. In today's MCT schedule, a class is given on close-quarters shooting. Marines also learn how to conduct patrols and ambushes and set up secure areas for camp. During a 22-day training cycle, Marines are trained with a variety of weapons, such as the AT-4 light anti-tank weapon and the M240G medium machine gun. After classroom instruction, the Receiving Co. Marines observed a field exercise site where MCT Marines had been applying new skills. "Watching the Marines on their field exercise, you could tell they knew what they were doing," Gallegos said. According to SOI leaders, the MCT training matrix is undergoing further revisions, which are scheduled to take effect in August.