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IULC: Building infantry platoon sergeants

By Lance Cpl. Andrew Cortez | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | July 1, 2020


U.S. Marines with the Infantry Unit Leader Course, Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry - West, conducted live-fire training at Range 203 and Mortar Position 6 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 30.

The students in IULC are noncommissioned and staff noncommissioned officers learning how to be proficient in their advanced infantry skills and small unit leadership.

“This training is very important for an infantry platoon sergeant because they can go to any infantry battalion and become the platoon sergeant for any small unit,” said U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Frank Denault, chief instructor for IULC. “They need to know how to deploy mortars and heavy machine guns and how to maneuver them effectively.”

The Marines fired a variety of weapons employed by Marine rifle squads. By using combat maneuvers to get to their firing point, the Marines provided cover fire for one another.

During this live-fire range, the students learned the use of the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun, M240B medium machine gun, and the M224 60 mm mortar.

“The Marines have been working on their mortar and machine gun employment for seven weeks and now they will be evaluated,” said Denault.

After this range, the students went through a series of different classes going over command and control, communications, defensive tactical measures, fire support, offensive tactical measures and patrolling.

All of this training is part of the 12-week course. The students will go through a culminating event at the end of the course that ties everything they learned over the whole course. At the end of the course, they will be trained to lead, deploy, and support any infantry battalion they may be assigned to.

“It motivates me to give all my knowledge to Marines that are going to be in the Marine Corps longer than me,” said Denault. “It doesn’t help if I keep all the stuff I learned to myself, I will just make the Marine Corps that much stronger by passing down my knowledge.”