FORT PICKETT VA --
Pfc. Vincent Russo is training to be part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team for the first time in his life.
The 21-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, native is an antitank missile-man with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and has served in the Marine Corps for one year and one month.
His primary job in the Marines involves handling missile systems fired personally and from vehicles. He also performs a number of other infantry-centric jobs, such as handling machine guns, conducting patrols, and providing security.
"You kind of have to be a jack of all trades, like any other infantry (military occupational specialty)," he said.
He, along with more than 700 Marines and sailors, the bulk of the battalion, arrived at Fort Pickett Sept. 8 to take part in the unit's Deployment for Training exercise, which took place Sept. 6-23.
The DFT served to prepare the Marines for the missions they will conduct as the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team. The battalion is scheduled to composite with the MEU a few days after the training.
The exercise also served to prepare Marines relatively new to the Marine Corps, such as Russo, to carry out the numerous missions they may conduct as part of the 24th MEU, ranging from urban patrolling to humanitarian operations.
"I like it," Russo said. "We have good senior leadership and they are guiding us. It's not just about combat. It's about helping people too."