At EMV the teams were able to start building those bonds, and learning the tactics of their platoon. "It was important that the teams laid the foundation before deploying," said Lance Cpl. William Calhoun, a machine gunner for Weapons Plt. “Being assigned to one squad is easier for me. I know how 1st Squad operates and what to expect,” said Calhoun, 28. “More importantly I know what's expected of me.” After deployment the machine gunners will become their own section again. For NCOs like Wienke, it means they'll maintain their camaraderie as a platoon, but will also have varied experiences from different areas of the battle space. “We're spread out right now, so it makes the bond stronger, and makes it really nice when we get to the others,” said Wienke, 23. “Every weapon’s Marine is going to have a different way of training, coming off this deployment.” When 1/5 deploys again, the machine gunners will have a broader base of experiences, because of what the Marines have learned this deployment. This experience will better prepare them for future deployments, by reaching back to the lessons they're learning in Afghanistan serving throughout the battle space. Despite getting swapped around during the work up, the machine gunners from Co. C have adapted to new tactics during their deployment in support of Op Enduring Freedom.
Photos by 1st Lt. Alex Lim