View Full Version : Reservists gain explosive experience

08-11-04, 05:25 AM
Reservists gain explosive experience
Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification #: 200486111737
Story by Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Aug. 6, 2004) -- They may not wear camouflage utility uniforms to work everyday or sport the perfect high and tight all the time, but training still plays a crucial role in the lives of those who have enlisted in the Marine Forces Reserve.

Approximately 140 reserve Marines from the 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., headed up to Parris Island to sharpen their warfighting skills July 27.

The "Savannah Marines," as they are nicknamed, spent four days aboard the Depot where they underwent refresher training that many of them had not experienced since recruit training or Marine Combat Training.

"We came as part of our annual training ... it keeps you up to par," said Staff Sgt. Troy Glover, a landing support specialist. "We went through the confidence course, the gas chamber, the rappel tower, and the grenade range. It's a good place to train ... we either come here or Ft. Stewart, Ga., which ever is available at the time."

The company spent their first day aboard the Depot getting reacquainted with the gas chamber and the next couple of days followed with the rappel tower and the grenade range.

"It's been pretty good training so far," said Lance Cpl. Nicholas Sutherland, a heavy equipment operator. "I was really looking forward to going down the rappel tower, but there are a lot of other things that we have went through so far that will be a lot more useful in Iraq," such as the gas mask training.

Sutherland, who was deployed after his unit was activated in January 2003, said there was more than one occasion in Iraq where knowledge of the gas mask came in handy.

"I was over there for three months and there were a couple of times where I donned and cleared my mask," he said. "All the other training we are doing here is good to know, but over there with my job, I never picked up a grenade or needed to rappel down anything."

The unit, like all other reserve components, spends two weeks a year and one weekend a month in training. This leads some active duty service members to refer to them as "weekend warriors," a term that most of the reservist will disagree with since a significant number of the forces in the Middle East right now are reservists.

"We go over there and we get our job done," said Glover. "We go through all the same training as active duty, but after it's done, we go back on reserve status. We're always ready to go when we're called up and are more than capable of doing our jobs over there."

Because Parris Island's main focus in the Marine Corps is training, it makes for a logical place for units to prepare for.

"We usually have around two units come out here a year," said Staff Sgt. Randy Ranford, a Crucible instructor at Page Field. "We take them through some basic training and help them prepare for whatever they need to do."

The 2nd BTO Company's main mission is to provide command and support for large-scale amphibious operation. During such a mission, the unit would coordinate the arrival of equipment and supplies to beach and helicopter landing zones and provide air delivery support when needed.


Approximately 200 hundred M69 practice grenades were used by the 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company at the Page Field Grenade Range during their annual training. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski