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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Ready. Relevant. Responsive.

2000 Opelousas Ave., New Orleans, LA 70114
“Lone Star” battalion maintains readiness during annual training

By Cpl. John McCall | 4th Marine Division | June 10, 2014

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FORT POLK, La. – Private James Jamison, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and a native of Converse, Texas, fires a M240-B machine gun during a live fire range here, June 2. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Private James Jamison, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and a native of Converse, Texas, fires a M240-B machine gun during a live fire range here, June 2. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Corporal Alexander Gil, a section leader with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of Houston, yells out commands to a fellow assualtman during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Corporal Alexander Gil, a section leader with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of Houston, yells out commands to a fellow assualtman during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, maneuver toward their objective during a live fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, maneuver toward their objective during a live fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, fire M72 Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs) during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assaultmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.

FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, fire M72 Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs) during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assaultmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Miguel Sancho, an assualtman with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio, sets off an explosive charge during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Miguel Sancho, an assualtman with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio, sets off an explosive charge during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Nicholas Arthus, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and a native of Pittsburgh, fires an infantry automatic rifle during a live fire range here, June 2. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Nicholas Arthus, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and a native of Pittsburgh, fires an infantry automatic rifle during a live fire range here, June 2. Marines took part in numerous live fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon size attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Joey Swanson, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio assists with ammunition during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s machine gunners were responsible for providing suppressing fire for Marines maneuvering to their notional objectives.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Joey Swanson, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio assists with ammunition during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s machine gunners were responsible for providing suppressing fire for Marines maneuvering to their notional objectives. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Machine gunners with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, prepare ammunition during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s machine gunners were responsible for providing suppressing fire for Marines maneuvering to their notional objectives.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Machine gunners with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, prepare ammunition during a live-fire range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s machine gunners were responsible for providing suppressing fire for Marines maneuvering to their notional objectives. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Miguel Sancho, an assualtman with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio, places an explosive charge onto a door knob during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Lance Cpl. Miguel Sancho, an assualtman with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and native of San Antonio, places an explosive charge onto a door knob during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, place explosive charges onto a door frame during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, place explosive charges onto a door frame during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, prepare C4 explosives during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces.  (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)

FORT POLK, La. – Assaultmen with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, prepare C4 explosives during a demolition range here, June 3. Marines took part in numerous live-fire ranges, which culminated in a platoon-sized attack as a part of the unit’s annual training. The battalion’s assualtmen were responsible for breaching mock enemy obstacles and clearing the way for follow-on forces. (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall) (Photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)


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FORT POLK, Lousiana -- The trait of being always ready has been a part of the Marine Corps’ ethos for more than 238 years. 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment held true to this standard during their annual training here, June 1 – 11.

In order to maintain their readiness, 1/23 took part in numerous field exercises specific to each job skill. These exercises included: weapons training, grenade qualification, gas chamber, demolition, and live-fire ranges.

“It helps us stay proficient with our weapon systems,” said PFC Cody L. Cummings, a machine gunner from Maud, Texas. “Any problems that we run into can be addressed here so that in a real-life scenario, we’ll know what to do.”

After completing multiple live-fire ranges, each company participated in coordinated platoon-sized attacks. Each squad played a key role in assaulting mock enemy objectives.

“We have to be proficient in our job so that the whole unit can be successful,” said Lance Cpl. Eduardo Castellanos, a machine gunner from San Antonio. “Without good suppressing fire from machine guns, the company’s rifle squads can’t maneuver safely to their objective.”

As a Reserve unit, 1/23 typically meets one weekend a month and only two full weeks a year. Even though these Marines take advantage of the time they are given on drill weekends, there is only so much that can be done in a two-day period. The importance and value of annual training cannot be overstated, especially since this opportunity only presents itself once a year.

“We don’t always get to put as many rounds down range as we do [at AT], which is why we have to make the best of it,” said Cpl. Alexander Gil, a section leader with Company A. “You have to train like you fight and for us it’s even more important because we don’t do this every day.”

With a combat deployment to Afghanistan under his belt, Gil knows firsthand how important training like this can be.

“I try to give as much guidance as I can to ensure the Marines under me are confident and ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Gil, a native of Houston, explained. “When they do deploy, they’re going to be attached to different units and I won’t be there to guide them. They need to be the expert at their job and perform when it really counts.”

More often than not a Marine Corps Reserve unit does not deploy as a whole. Instead, it is divided into smaller detachments to fill gaps within the active duty component and facilitate the employment of the total force.
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