Camp Gonsalves --
The saccades’ song rolled through the jungle with a motion similar to ocean waves. It has been half an hour of looking at the tall grass through a rifle combat optic. The sun setting on the shoulders of still camouflaged figures.
A loud yell burst through the grass and like woken effigies, the camouflaged figures rose. They quickly fell into their ranks and awaited the word of their officer.
She spoke about the safety of the Marines. During the rising and setting of the sun the Marines’ RCOs and night vision became impaired. This is why they have to stand alert during these times.
The purpose of Jungle Warfare Training Center is dedicated to get the Marines familiar with the jungle.
Sergeant Ryland E. Matthews, a squad advisor and staff member with 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force at JWTC, is a tall and charismatic man.
He had a running joke with the staff on how he was just in a mental hospital. His fellow instructors were wardens and he only believed he was an instructor.
“JWTC 5-day Course gives Marines the skills they need to shoot, move and communicate in an environment presented by the jungle,” said Matthews. The land itself is covered in slick mud, the earth steams and hills are intimidatingly steep. The terrain speaks for itself when traversing 100 meters takes up to an hour.
In the last day of training, the Marines ran through the endurance course as a combination of everything they learned throughout the five days.
Ten hills needed to be descended by fast roping. It is a daunting task as the hills are jagged and there is no harness.
They crawl through water cursed by leptospirosis. The mud permeated with the fecal matter of rats and hogs.
They crawled out of it. They fell into theirs ranks and faced each other. The instructors took jugs of clean water and doused the Marines as if was a baptismal.
The last event involved taking a Marine through the jungle on a stretcher made of two small logs. They carried it out though the slick hills and through the dense and narrow jungle. The mud at some points becoming thick like peanut butter.
When they reached the clearing, they sprinted towards the finish and every Marine in the platoon felt strong alongside their brothers and sisters.
The training provided by the Jungle Warfare Training Center is invaluable. It goes beyond establishing the skills of the Marine; it shows the heart of the Marine.