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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command


U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

Camp Lejeune, NC

MSOAG Marines learn above and beyond

By Pfc. Stephen C. Benson | | September 14, 2007


Winning wars before they begin and fighting wars in a smarter way requires one crucial element: smarter warriors. That is why enlisted Marines from Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command conducted training more typical of commissioned officers as they participated in a week-long fire support package at the Combined Arms Staff Trainer here.

The package began Monday, Sept. 10, with classes on fire support tactics and advanced skills. Tuesday the Marines worked in the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer followed by more fire support classes on Wednesday. Finally on Thursday and Friday they split into teams to complete a series of practical application exercises.

“These sergeants and corporals need to understand how to tactically advise the leaders of foreign nations on the use of combined arms,” said Capt. E.R. Stone, officer in charge of Advanced Skills at MSOAG.

A high level of maturity and intelligence is expected of the MSOAG Marines and this course is indicative of their abilities.

“These are skills commonly taught to entry-level officers,” said Stone. “We are giving them what they need to successfully operate at this level.”

For the final exercises, Marines separated into three fictional companies. Each company included observation and intelligence assets on the ground in the form of Surveillance and Target Acquisition teams. The STA teams called in details about targets to team leaders who then relayed it to another room of Marines representing the Fire Support Control Center.

Teams were given new scenarios throughout the day and responded by coordinating and executing fire support on various targets, then assessing the effectiveness of each company’s strikes.

By combining realistic scenarios with the realism of the Combined Arms Staff Trainer, which simulates fire effects by projecting lasers onto a large terrain model, the MSOAG Marines were able to hone their indirect fire support coordination skills.

“This set-up allows these Marines to have a better understanding of how to advise foreign governments down range,” said Staff Sgt. Jody Wagner, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of advanced skills. “They’ll be working closely with company commanders and high ranking officers, and this makes them an asset.”

The MSOAG Marines and Sailors go through months of rigorous training in order to prepare them for various Foreign Internal Defense missions. In teams of approximately 11, they will conduct operations with foreign militaries while teaching them and building relationships.

The advisor role of Marines and Sailors in MSOAG requires that they be knowledgeable in many different military subjects.

“Combined arms and fire support tactics will definitely help them,” said Staff Sgt. Nick L. Brown, Assistant instructor, MSOAG. “It’s one more thing they can use when deployed.”

Active Duty Marines and Sailors interested in how to become a part of MARSOC can contact the Marine Special Operations School at (910) 450-3349/3123 (DSN 750-3349/3123) or visit us online at www.marsoc.usmc.mil/recruiting.