Service members enhance land navigation skills
COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, Japan -- Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Company 36 refreshed their land navigation skills during Exercise Dragon Fire 2015 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, July 27.
CLC-36 conducts this exercise annually to ensure their Marines and sailors are combat conditioned by refreshing the tactical skill sets taught to service members in their initial combat training.
Land navigation is one of many skill sets enhanced during the exercise in order to further develop service members’ combat mindset to prepare them for the mental and physical stress of a combat zone.
Each group of service members received a starting point and a group of different coordinates that they must find using only a map, protractor and compass. While maneuvering through rough terrain, navigators needed to retrieve numbered ammo cans at each point to complete the mission.
“The mission of this training was to refresh the Marines skills on land navigation,” said Cpl. Gerardo Becerra, a motor transport operator with CLC-36. “Many Marines haven’t done this since Marine Combat Training; so this is a way of refreshing their skills. This prepares them for future situations they may be put in when they’re deployed.”
Nowadays, individuals use different forms of technology with GPS capabilities that makes land navigation easier. But the basic land navigation skills of plotting points on a map and shooting an azimuth reading on a compass prepares Marines for situations when technology may not work.
“It’s important for Marines and sailors to have basic land navigation skills because if you’re trying to find a location and don’t have any means of communication, you need to know how to use your basic equipment to get where you need to go,” said Lance Cpl. Friday M. Ruiz, a military policeman with the provost marshal’s office aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. “With the training and classes that I’ve received, I would feel confident getting to point B from point A using only a map and compass.”
The service members navigated in an unfamiliar, highly vegetated terrain with limited time to complete their mission.
“The only thing that I think made it a little difficult was that the maps weren’t up to date,” said Ruiz. “But that’s understandable because there was construction going on and natural changes. There were a few obstacles along the way, but we overcame them easily.”
The last thing the service members have to look forward to is climbing Mount Fuji July 30. After that, they will prepare to head back to MCAS Iwakuni.
Being ready for combat at all times is part of the Marine Corps mission, making this annual training exercise important to their mission success.