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Mortarmen with Fox Co., 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment dig a fighting hole after arriving at Shadow Range for five days of training that began Oct. 20. The training ended with a live-fire exercise that tested their decision-making skills and ability to work as a unit. “The exercise went very well and I’m glad to serve with these Marines,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Pagan, a platoon commander with the unit.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Fredrick J. Coleman

New York’s 2/25 attacks Shadow Range

28 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Fredrick J. Coleman

Activated reserve Marines from the Garden City, New York-based Fox Co., 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) tackled the challenges of a combined-arms training here Oct. 20 – 25.

The Marines were the first to train at the recently completed training facility known as Shadow Range.

As the role of Marines deployed to Anbar continues to shift to advising Iraqi security forces, the facility affords troops a means of maintaining combined-arms capabilities while supporting over-watch missions in the region.

Fox Co. practiced combat scenarios that challenged their ability to communicate and move under fire. Simulated enemies fired at the Marines from trenches. Marines dashed to covered positions and practiced establishing mortar firing points. Squad leaders barked orders into radio handsets setting teams of Marines in motion on the training range.

The company concluded their training with a live-fire assault course in which the Marines put their refreshed combat skills to the test. Squads moved through the course employing a variety of weapons – mortars, rocket launchers, machine guns and their service rifles. During the movement, they engaged a simulated enemy hidden in the desert hills.

“The company hasn’t had the opportunity to do thorough refresher training,” said Maj. Tom Armas, the company’s commanding officer.

 “Now that we have the range, we have the ability to get the Marine skills back up to the level they were when they departed from the states.”

The exercises provided the unit an ideal opportunity to refresh ground combat skills and afforded instructors at the range an opportunity to evaluate the new facility and their curriculum.

“The range is still in testing phase right now,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Stuart White, gunner, Advanced Infantry Training Center, Multi National Forces-West. “After the first group goes through, the instructors will look at the reports and make adjustments to the range to get the most out of the training.”

During their six-month deployment, the unit will continue to rotate Marines through combined-arms training at Shadow Range. Marines who have completed the training will return about once a week to maintain their combat skills.