On October 10th, Marine Options of the Boston NROTC battalion and supporting cadre members went to Fort Devens for their first FEX of the year. At 1700 on Friday, the motivated midshipmen loaded into vans eager to get field exposure that will help them both at OCS and in the fleet.
Upon arrival, Semper Fi Society members posted security and set up tents, hoping to be able to finish quickly and get sleep. Unfortunately for them, the cadre was watching closely and midshipmen started mysteriously disappearing. Before long, the Marines had lost an entire squad. Thanks to Plt Sgt Pushaw’s efforts, all midshipmen were recovered without any causality. The Marines learned to always buddy up and let their squad leaders know where they were going.
After set up, the Marine Options formed columns with their packs on, ready to step off for a 6 mile hike. The first challenge came with a steep hill, but through the motivating efforts and will of everyone on the FEX, no one fell out. Soon people were smiling and laughing, enjoying the challenge of a well-mapped hike. The hike was successful without a single midshipmen dropping or lightening load.
After the hike, the exhausted Marines moved to their sleep system where they enjoyed a night under the stars, despite having tents. OIC Kim insisted “Suffering brought people together,” and so it became the motto of the FEX. Five hours and several fire watches later, the midshipmen were woken up once again to begin a new day, starting with rifle drill lead by GySgt Askew. Rifle drill was a new but exciting part of the FEX because drill is a key element in OCS.
The last event of the day was Fire Team in the Offense, or FITO for short. This is a bulldog’s* time to shine as they navigated a fire team sized unit of midshipmen through a forest in order to reach an objective. This was the first time the bulldogs were the fire team leaders in FITO, and each bulldog learned quickly and made great progress, setting a glowing example for the third and fourth class.
After the FEX, a very happy group of Marine options loaded into the climate-controlled vans and shared stories and laughs over a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee before cleaning rifles and ending hot wash at Ashford Supply. The Midshipmen then said goodbye and reminded each other in true Marine fashion that they had logbook PT on Monday. The FEX both fostered midshipmen camaraderie and excitement about their jobs as future Marine Corps officers. However, most midshipmen were also excited to shower off their war painted faces and order Dominos.
Written by Midn 3/c Kristen Noviello
*bulldog: Junior/second class midshipman preparing for OCS the summer before their senior year