LAR scouts conduct route recon at Fort A.P. Hill

17 Mar 2004 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

As with the rest of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Units' Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, Marines from Light Armored Reconnaissance Platoon, Weapons Company worked to strengthen their basic skills by conducting route reconnaissance training here March 16.

The exercise allowed the scouts and Light Armored Vehicle crewman to practice the proper techniques involved in the route reconnaissance process.

"Basically what we were doing out there was making sure the roads would be able to support the vehicles from the [Battalion Landing Team] and [MEU Service Support Group]," said Sgt. Thomas Busch of St. Paul, Neb., and chief scout for LAR Platoon.

"We had to make sure all the vehicles would fit on the road and be able to travel on this route without encountering any problems."

The LAR Marines conducted the reconnaissance work by using several different means.

First the Marines would take their vehicles to certain areas along the route. They would stop, dismount their vehicles, and with Marines providing proper security with M-16 rifles and M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons, would measure the roadway using a piece of cord with knots in it that represented various distances.

Once they had the width of the road measured the Marines also tested the slope of the road.

"To measure slope, you take your [horizontal distance] which is my height times [vertical distance] which is how many steps [another Marines] takes and [multiply] it by 100," said Busch. "That will give you a percent of the slope. If the slope is under 30 percent, the vehicles can climb it with ease."

Once the scouts had the proper road width and slope of the road, they also took time to conduct some surveillance of the area.

This included them snooping through the woods and watching places on the road to see if it was clear for the vehicles to travel on. They also made sure there were no obstacles to block a convoy.

"Out here with my [Squad Automatic Weapon], running through the forest -- its awesome." said Lance Cpl. Sean Wilson of Erie, Pa., and scout with LAR Plt. "I love being out here and doing this sort of thing."

Next up for the Marines of LAR Platoon is interoperability training with their counterparts in the Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT). The two will team and work together as a combined CAAAT/LAR team.