Your life at Recon Battalion is basically broken down into phases. This, of course, is once you’re an operational member of a team. And, with the current level of combat deployments, this “phase” system is not always in place. Of course, when guys aren’t sweating it out training for war, there’s plenty of time off. And, as the saying goes, “train hard, play hard”! And, throughout all phases, PT is a daily activity. Here’s a break down of the phases of life at Recon.
This is the time period where a recon platoon is put together and all of the billets and slots are filled. Pretty much a purgatory type waiting game. As guys rotate back from deployments, they get shifted around to make sure that the experience is spread throughout the unit. So, there might only be 1 or 2 teams for a bit while waiting for back fill. When I was in Bn, we actually didn’t have a Platoon Commander for a few months (not always a bad thing!).
But don’t kid yourself, this is not just sitting around and chillin’, there’s still constant training and lots of PT. Once the platoon reaches an operational level, it’s balls to the wall … constant training. The nice part about this phase is that the platoon is pretty much autonomous and not attached to directly support anyone. This means training is decided by the teams. It’s not uncommon for teams to be in the bush for upwards of 20 days a month. Listed below are some of the missions that Recon Battalion Marines train on.
- Area Reconnaissance
- Route Reconnaissance
- Landing Zone Reports
- Ford Reports
- Hydrographic Surveys
- Small Scale Raids and Ambushes
- Pre-Raid Reconnaissance
- Battle Damage Assessments
- ITG (Initial Terminal Guidance) of Rotary Wing Aircraft
- Drop Zone Reports
The teams also need to be able to get to “work.” Here’s some of the insertion/extraction techniques utilized by Recon Battalion.