SOTG runs coxswain course to train Marines
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    Exclamation SOTG runs coxswain course to train Marines

    SOTG runs coxswain course to train Marines
    Lance Cpl. Abigail M. Wharton

    WHITE BEACH NAVAL STATION, Okinawa (August 21, 2009) -- It's night and the water is black and still. Suddenly, the silence is broken by a hum of motors on rubber crafts coming around the corner of a pier and heading toward a dark building.

    At first glance the crafts look empty, but upon closer inspection, one can see Marines crouched low on the gunnels of the craft and a Marine sitting up to pilot the 265-pound vessel.

    Inside, is a Marine combat rubber reconnaissance craft coxswain whose secondary military occupational specialty is to perform reconnaissance, raid and riverine (inlet, swamp and shoreline) missions.

    In order to be a coxswain, one must complete a four-week course to learn handling, launching, recovering, maintaining and safely operating the CRRC.

    The coxswain is in charge of the CRRC and the personnel aboard.

    A coxswain must also know how to operate all the equipment and components associated with the CRRC.

    "These skills have been used recently in patrolling on the Euphrates River and around Haditha Dam in Iraq," said Cpl. Clay A. George, senior raids instructor, Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

    The SOTG staff runs a coxswain course at least twice a year that certifies Marines for the MOS 0316.

    "The first week is mainly class time learning specifications and performance of the craft," George said. "They also learn engine maintenance and emergency procedures.

    "During weeks two and three they learn small boat handling, formations, and practicing approaches for landing and boarding other craft. During the last week, they learn navigation and do a final mission to test what they have learned."

    The boat platoons are comprised of 18 boats arranged in three waves of six CRRCs.

    The coxswains use formations such as the wedge, staggered column, echelon left and echelon right along with hand and arm signals to communicate over the sound of the engines or to be tactical during situations that require sound discipline.

    In order to keep in shape during the course and build team work, the boat teams compete during their physical fitness training in boat runs, paddling and assembling the CRRCs.

    In order to attend the course, Marines are not required to have the 0300 MOS, but they must be eligible by having a minimum of a 2nd class swim qualification, 1st class physical fitness test and have normal night vision.

    However, female Marines need not apply as the 0316 designator is an infantry MOS.

    "Almost every MOS can benefit from this course," said Staff Sgt. Calos Marquez, maintenance chief, small craft raid platoon, SOTG, III MEF. "Marines learn skills like knot tying, small engine up keep and maintenance."


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