MARFORPAC Marines put infantry skills to test[MIGRATE]

By Pfc. Ethan Hoaldridge | September 20, 2007

Combat patrolling, an art that takes a few days to teach and months to perfect is one of the most integral parts of fighting the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific took a day to learn the basis of patrolling, Sept. 17. Three days later they applied what they learned at Marine Corps Training Area, Bellows, Hawaii, Sept. 20.

The training simulated a combat patrol searching for three Marines who posed as aggressors. The Marines used blank rounds for ammunition to make the training seem more realistic.

Capt. Chris R. Hagan, training officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, MARFORPAC, used his experience, as an infantry officer who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan orchestrating and participating in numerous patrols, to teach the classes and oversee the training.

The classes provided Marines with a basic understanding of the six troop leading steps. The steps are meant to help them evaluate any mission and how to accomplish it.

BAMCIS. It’s an acronym that stands for:

• Begin the planning

• Arrange for reconnaissance

• Make reconnaissance

• Complete the planning

• Issue the order

• Supervise

“Marines can apply this to almost everything they do in the Marine Corps,” said Hagan. “It will improve their ability to problem solve on their own.”

Hagan then taught the Marines how to apply BAMCIS to patrolling, regarding research of the terrain, weather, gear checks, plans of attack, etc. He made Marines apply it to their everyday jobs in the Corps to get a better grip on the process.

“When he asked me how I could use it in my job it was easy to understand how fast things can go wrong without a plan,” said Lance Cpl. Casey Atkinson, motor vehicle operator, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC. “I would have to make plans for a flat tire or find alternate routes to avoid traffic.

“The more planning and reconnaissance that goes into what your objective is, the more you’ll be ready when things go wrong,” he said.

After the training exercise was over, Hagan debriefed the Marines to discuss lessons learned and gave constructive criticism of their performance.

“Since it was the first time for a lot of us to patrol, we obviously can improve in a lot of ways,” said Sgt. Romeo Chavez, supply noncommissioned officer, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC. “But we learned so much, and this provides a base to build on for the next training exercise.”

Some Marines say they learned more about themselves and their capabilities when under stressing circumstances.

“Moving through that thick forest with all my gear on made it real hot and a tiring,” said Pfc. Greg Fryman, administration clerk, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC. “By the time we got to our objective and had to attack, I had to dig a little deeper for the energy to keep attacking.”

Marines from MARFORPAC have been supporting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan since it’s beginning.

“This command sends individual augments into theatre constantly, so the Marines here need this training too,” said Hagan. “You never know when it will be your turn to go on a patrol or convoy, no matter what your job is.”