'Ode to Joy'

'Ode to Joy'

May 20, 2011

Marines hone marksmanship, tactics during Dynamic Assault

A Marine from Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Force Company, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, fires at targets May 10 during the Dynamic Assault Course at Camp Hansen's Range 16. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr) 
By Lance Cpl. Anthony Ward Jr., Marine Corps Bases Japan 

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan  — Reconnaissance Marines are conducting marksmanship training drills as part of the Dynamic Assault Course taught by the Special Operations Training Group on Camp Hansen’s Range 16 April 25 to May 27.

The Marines, with Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Force Company, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, are participating in this training in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

The Dynamic Assault Course is a five-week course, with the first two weeks focusing on marksmanship, said Staff Sgt. Jason Adkins, the lead instructor for the course. The next three weeks focus on tactics, where the students learn insertion, breaching objectives with explosives, and the proper techniques used to secure an objective.

Dynamic Assault Course instructors are all reconnaissance Marines from SOTG, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF.

This class is important as it pushes a force reconnaissance platoon’s skills to a high level and provides the Marines with the required certification to be part of a force reconnaissance platoon, Adkins said. With the training, the platoon can be employed by its commander to carry out direct-action missions, he added.

During the first week of training, Marines fired the M1911 .45 caliber pistol and M4A1 service rifle while training at ranges simulating different urban environments.

“(The training) is very important for the type of mission(s) we do,” said Staff Sgt. Lin Barrios, assistant platoon sergeant for the platoon.

As part of the MEU, the Marines need to know how to operate in different environments, said Barrios.

After familiarizing themselves with their weapons and zeroing in their aiming points, the Marines moved to live-fire shooting in a close-quarters situation.

“I like all the tactics,” said Cpl. Angel Robles, a reconnaissance Marine with the 31st MEU and a student in the course. “There’s all kinds of stuff going through your head. (When entering a room), you have to remember if you’re one man, two man or rear security.”

In close quarters situations, teams of four to six Marines enter a room using proper room-clearing techniques, identify the threats and use the proper method to take them down.

You have to have a certain mindset for it, said Barrios.

“(There’s) a thousand ways you can take over a house, and there’s a thousand ways to mess it up. At this level, you have to be in the correct mindset to do the job.

“Most of the Marines are responding very well to (the training),” added Barrios. “It’s very important to throw them in this kind of environment early.”


  1. Hello, my name is Mark Javier. I am currently a senior in high school and will be graduating next month. I am interested in becoming a photographer for the Marines. How did you end up with this job? Do you like it? Have you ever been in any mortal danger? It would be awesome if you could email me a reply at mark.andrew.javier@gmail.com. Thanks!

  2. Mark,

    I am glad to see you are interested in becoming a Marine Corps photographer. It is an amazing job that comes with rewarding benefits. When I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2006, I wanted to be a Public Affairs Marine because I wanted to capture/tell the Marine Corps story. When you enlist, you can request a 4341 MOS (Public Affairs), however, it requires an interview prior to being accepted for the job. But don't sweat the interview because it involves basic questions just to see why you want to be a military journalist. As Marines, combat is an inherent part of our jobs and you can expect to deploy like every other Marine. I have never been in mortal danger in my career unless you count an ammunition round exploding inside a weapon (long story). Wherever Marines are no matter if in combat, humanitarian aid missions, or even military exercises, there is always a military photographer capturing/telling the Marine Corps story. To be honest with you, this is the greatest job I have ever had. I do not think you will be disappointed if you decide to become a military photographer. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide. Semper Fi!!!