MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii -- Reconnaissance Marines with Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company hosted amphibious training events as part of a preparation course for prospective Reconnaissance Marines at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 22-23, 2018.
The course, running from Jan. 3 to Feb. 2, aims to prepare reservist students for the stresses of the Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) by offering a broad, realistic curriculum, challenging them both mentally and physically.
“It’s basically a stepping stone for students to prepare for BRC,” said Cpl. Nikita Klochko, a course instructor and reconnaissance Marine. “We’ve been going through basic reconnaissance skills, and all the other physical and mental components they’ll need to succeed.”
The extensive time the students spend in the water will drastically increase their preparedness for the difficulties of BRC training, Klochko said.
“Water confidence is huge,” Klochko said. “Most guys will freak out, hyperventilate, and quit. Pool activities and fins are a big part of what we do here.”
Pfc. Michael Garziano, an infantryman with the unit and a student of the course, said he has already seen improvements in his performance in the water.
“Before it started, I was completing my 500 meter swim in almost 17 minutes,” Garziano said. “We’ve been working on that event almost every day here, and I’ve cut that time all the way down to under 13 minutes.”
It is especially important that the detachment’s students are fully equipped to succeed and come back from BRC as reconnaissance Marines, as the unit is already understaffed, said Sgt. Trevor Smith, a course instructor and Reconnaissance Marine.
“Our main goal is to continue bringing reconnaissance Marines to the Hawaii Detachment,” Smith said. “Right now, we have five reservists here on island, and that isn’t even enough for a team.”
Assembling a full team, the unit would be able to take advantage of the unique amphibious training environments Hawaii has to offer.
“We have a brand new dive locker here, literally a stone’s throw away from the detachment,” Smith said. “Helo-casting opportunities are more readily available with the bay and the air station right next door. Having a full team would give us the capability to fully utilize those training opportunities.”
The course is a means to achieve this goal by instilling the superior discipline, force fitness, and warfighting knowledge that the reconnaissance community is known for.
“When you get here, you realize you kind of suck at first,” Garziano said. “But after a while, you see the improvements in yourself. All of the instructors keep pushing you to the point where you feel like quitting, but you know you won’t. If you want to be a recon Marine, that’s what it takes.”