Camp Pendleton - Marine Combat Training

Ben's MCT course went from November 13 through November 30, 2002.  MCT is a course that all non-combat-arms Marines must undergo, so that they all have a basic understanding of small unit tactics and basic familiarity with infantry weapons.  As I told Ben when he was leaving, "Pay close attention.  This could save your life some day."

For those of us at home, MCT was very different from boot camp in a couple of key ways.  First, they were given liberty on Sundays, so Ben got to call home.  Second, since the course was so short, it really didn't make sense to send mail.  We tried anyway.

Some people take cell phones to MCT.  The problem is, the School of Infantry where the course takes place is pretty remote.  Sprint cell phones do not work there.  ATT phones might since ATT has the telephone concession.  Ben described MCT as very active, little sleep, and a lot of spending the night outside.  The weather was cold, but not rainy.  He woke up several times with frost on his sleeping bag.

It is a neat course.  They get to use hand grenades, grenade launchers, and the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon).  The instructors treated them differently to the way the DI's treated them in boot camp, which was greatly appreciated and added to the effectiveness of the training.

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This is the view from the School of Infantry, San Onofre, California. They spend a lot of time humping up and down the mountains.

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This is the landscape.  Pretty barren and uninviting.  Great for digging fighting holes.

When they were in barracks, they lived in a standard squad bay, similar to boot camp.

Everything had to be squared away.
Marines get strange suntans.
Getting the feel of the SAW.
Their's always time to stand around (on your hands).
Ben's looking tired in this picture.
Packs and weapons set out ready for a night exercise.
Ben's rack.
They received instruction on operating in a chemical/biological environment.
Up early for an exercise.
Saddle up!
Traffic on the road.
Humping down the road.
Take five!
When they were out in the field, they sometimes got to sleep in dirt-floored metal huts.
Kevlar helmet and flack jacket.
And M&M boxers.
Ready to hit the rack.
Sunset, with a night exercise about to start.
Middle of the night.
Covered in camo paint.
Ben, looking tired.  He had just scrubbed off his camo paint from the overnight exercise.
Dinner!  MRE's, yum!
Sunset at Camp Pendleton.

The India Company Graduation Picture.

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