Videos: Today's Military
    Marine Corps

    The Night Mission(04:14)

    As a Marine Corps Infantry Officer, it’s 1st Lt. Akhil Iyer’s job to train and prepare his Marines to be ready for any operation. That sort of preparation takes careful planning. Discover what goes into a night training operation that replicates real combat scenarios as closely as possible and see how an officer prepares his men to safely accomplish their objective, even in total darkness.

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Speaker One: Yo, get in! Get in! Get in! Clear! (gunshots)

1st Lt. Akhil Iyer: What excites me to be in the Marine Corps, and to be an infantry officer is, honestly, the people around you. It's working with the fellow platoon commanders and, ultimately, your Marines. The thing that strikes me most is their ability to learn from their lessons, learn from the experiences, and use the experiences of those around them, and within their team. So, in preparing my Marines for an operation, whether that's in training or on deployment, there's a lot of prior rehearsals and prior training that goes into it.

The face that we're looking for is that enemy machine gun bunker, that anti-tank guided missile, is suppressed in order to allow us occupy Red Beach, and deal with that threat on the go.

Briefing's a very important part, communicating, you know, as much detail as possible to those Marines who are executing that attack, and there is a -- a structure to that that provides them with the framework they need to successfully conduct that exercise. You're communicating not only that enemy situation, what can they expect on that objective, but also what that general scheme maneuver is, where is each platoon moving, and where is each squad moving.

We are able to advance through the corridor unimpeded by those OPs, those IEF, or those overwhelming positions.

The time right before an operation gives us an opportunity to confirm what the Marines are doing, and to get back briefs to make sure that they understand the plan, and that any details are covered. I've learned, you know, one, you're always going to learn something every day. Second, that, you know, you really got to know your trade in and out, and be confident in providing that -- that plan.

Prior to actually conducting that attack, you're doing that last minute confirmation with -- with your fellow platoon commanders, with the squad leaders, ensuring that they understand the plan. If there's a detail that they're unsure about, that's the time to just hone it in and ensure that everyone understands. (gunshots)

Here in training, the objective is always to stress some sort of decision-making. You know, find a way to make the situation complicated, and have everyone from that rifle team leader, that squad leader, and that platoon commander, to give them opportunities to exercise some decision making. And it's definitely a very quick process. I think a lot of that goes in that prior planning. We have multiple urban setups, and it gives us an opportunity to work through a clearing of urban terrain. (shouting) (explosion)

An explosion goes, you have an aggressive team leader, an aggressive squad leader who's going to continue that attack, and continue the momentum forward, and that's something that definitely is a little more complex, requires a little bit more detail and coordination, but is definitely valuable to the marines, and to our training as we think about how we maneuver through a town, and how we seize that objective.

It's a great opportunity. You know, where else does a young, 23-year old have the opportunity to work with the people here and the assets we have to accomplish that mission, and serve at the same time? 

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