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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Recruits map out land navigation

By Lance Cpl. Tyler Viglione | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | November 01, 2013

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Recruits Minori Mori and John E. Mercer (left to right)double check their data the way to finding their next navigation point. During Land Navigation training recruits are divided into two-man teams.

Recruits Minori Mori and John E. Mercer (left to right)double check their data the way to finding their next navigation point. During Land Navigation training recruits are divided into two-man teams. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Recruits Guy T. Muches and Benjamin I. Smith (left and right) finds where their next navigation point during the Land  Navigation Course aboard  Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oct. 15.  Recruits are divided into teams of two for the course.

Recruits Guy T. Muches and Benjamin I. Smith (left and right) finds where their next navigation point during the Land Navigation Course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oct. 15. Recruits are divided into teams of two for the course. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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(left to right) Recruits John E. Mercer and Dylan L. Schiltz,  finds their next destination during the Land Navigation Course at Edson Range.  Recruits worked to find five different navigation points along the course using only a compass and a map.

(left to right) Recruits John E. Mercer and Dylan L. Schiltz, finds their next destination during the Land Navigation Course at Edson Range. Recruits worked to find five different navigation points along the course using only a compass and a map. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Recruits (left to right) Guy T. Hutches and Benjamin I. Smith find their next navigation is on the map during the Land Navigation Course at Edson Range.  Recruits must find all five of their navigation points in a time limit of four hours.

Recruits (left to right) Guy T. Hutches and Benjamin I. Smith find their next navigation is on the map during the Land Navigation Course at Edson Range. Recruits must find all five of their navigation points in a time limit of four hours. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --

In this day and age of smartphones and Global Positioning Systems, most people don’t know how to use a compass or map. For a Marine this knowledge must be  second nature.

Armed with compasses and maps, recruits of Company I, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, maneuvered through the Land Navigation Course at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oct. 15.

During Field Week or week seven of recruit training, throughout the hilly terrain of Camp Pendleton recruits learned the basic fundamentals of combat, everything from combat formations to land navigation. The course is buried deep in the midst of the mountainous terrain of Camp Pendleton, covered with cacti, bushes, and various wildlife.

“Before the recruits are released to find their points, they have a class on how to shoot an azimuth, get their pace counts, and how to read a map,” said Sgt. Britt Castillo, drill instructor, Platoon 3202. “They also practice mapping points while in the class.”

They recruits learned how to measure ground distance using pace count. A pace count is how many steps it takes a person to walk a known distance. It allowed them to keep track of how far they had traveled from their starting points.

“The recruits split into teams of two and receive five different points that they have to find using the techniques that they learned,” said Castillo, a Dallas, Texas native.

Each navigation point is marked with a numbered ammunition can. Each pair of recruits were given a different route to obtain to.

“Once recruits believe that they have found all of their points, they bring the points that they found to the instructor,” said Castillo.  “If they got all of them right they are finished, if not then they have to go back out.”

The recruits were allotted approximately four hours to complete the course.

“At first, I felt like I forgot everything I learned in the class,” said Recruit Jose F. Ranguel, Plt. 3201. “It got easier as I kept going through my points.”

For Ranguel, this was more than just a land navigation exercise.

“This was the first time we were given a chance to do something on our own,” said Ranguel. “I feel like it was a leadership and teambuilding exercise as well.”

During recruit training, recruits learn how to take initiative and to lead each other. Events like Land Navigation allow recruits to practice those skills.

Recruits will be able to utilize their land navigation skills again after recruit training while at the School of Infantry.

According to Castillo, recruits are given the basic fundamentals in order for them to develop those skills throughout their Marine Corps Careers.



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