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An M67 fragmentation grenade explodes on Range 111 during Back in the Saddle training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 7. Marines with Marine Wing Communications Squadron (MWCS) 38 threw these grenades and also shot other weapons systems during the training.

Photo by Sgt. Raquel Barraza

MWCS-38 gets ‘back to basics’ with Back in the Saddle training

12 Jan 2015 | Sgt. Raquel Barraza 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with Marine Wing Communications Squadron (MWCS) 38 added some flare to their annual training, Jan. 5 – 9.

After the holiday season, all Marines attend annual training that is better known as “Back in the Saddle” training which helps Marines prepare for the new year.

This unit’s leaders decided to add some extra curriculum to the training by having the Marines travel to Range 109 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and get familiar with their M16A4 rifles.

“We are getting back to our basics,” said Sgt. Aaron Cornish, the training chief with MWCS-38.
Marines practiced marksmanship skills all while wearing full combat gear including Kevlar and flak jacket to make the training seem as real as possible.

“The purpose of this evolution is to enforce the war fighting fundamentals,” said Staff Sgt. Shamus Flynn, headquarters detachment gunnery sergeant for MWCS-38. “It’s a good way to get the Marines out of their comfort zone and see how they perform. We fight like we train.”

During the week-long training event, Marines also learned to shoot the M4 tactical shotgun and threw M67 fragmentation grenades.

“This is a good way to get them out of their primary jobs and get them back to that riflemen [mentality],” said Flynn.

Many of the senior leaders took this as a chance to help Marines who were new to the unit or have never been on a deployment.

“It is all about knowledge transfer,” said Flynn. “Taking what I know from my deployments and helping these Marines be prepared.”

In between firing the different weapon systems, Marines took care of their annual training by conducting classes on domestic violence and child abuse awareness, substance abuse awareness, suicide awareness and best practices for social media.

The senior leadership of MWCS-38 intends to keep their Marines annual training up to date while maintaining combat readiness.

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing