Fort A.P. Hill Va. -- Eleven months ago if you asked Pfc. Michael Parnell, a native of Canton, Ohio, where he’d be in a year, he probably wouldn’t have told you, Fort A.P. Hill, Va., wrapping up the Mechanized Raid Course. Yet, almost exactly eleven months after he enlisted in the Marine Corps, Pfc. Parnell found himself here in the middle of winter conducting training with Bravo Co., Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marines as a part of their pre-deployment training package with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. During the Mechanized Raid Course, Parnell and the rest of the Marines from Bravo Co. learned all of the basics of conducting a raid on an objective with the aid of Assault Amphibian Vehicles and the M1A1 Main Battle Tank. The course also served to refresh some skills that the Marines already knew and paint a clearer picture of where they, as an individual Marine, fit in the scheme of not only a mechanized raid, but also their place during combat. This training was more intense than that at the School of Infantry, but this is also training Marines that have already been to Iraq wish they had received prior to their first trek overseas. A lot of the training was meant to give the Marines a new perspective on old ideas. They were taught new techniques for room clearing, how to enter a building through a window and how to split your squad to enter the house simultaneously from two different entry points. Each platoon took a turn being the assault element, support element, or the security element. The Marines made sure they knew how to do each of the missions because combat can change a platoon’s role in a raid quickly. You might have the support element and the assault element switching roles due to enemy position or any number of reasons. Parnell’s squad leader, Lance Cpl. Jason McKay, 24, from Snellville, Ga., is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran with a tour in Iraq under his belt. “A lot of the stuff I already know, but it’s good practice,” said McKay. “If you don’t use these skills you will lose them and they have taught us some new tricks.”The course wrapped up with the Marines conducting a number of raids each with less and less instructor involvement. Two of the raids were done at night, and each time the Marines were given a new objective. The objectives ranged from simulating the rescue of an Iraqi official to blowing up a weapons cache. Each time the Marines’ training and techniques took over and got the job done. Now that the nine-day course is complete, Parnell and his fellow Marines will move on to the next block of training in their pre-deployment package preparing them for an upcoming deployment.