MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Click. Swoosh. Splat.
Splat. Splat. SPLAT. Thud!
"I'm hit!" yelled Lance Cpl. William Davy as he stood up, both arms raised. He looked up from behind the brush he had hoped would protect him to reveal a yellow glob of paint dripping from his facemask.
As he made his way to the side of the playing field, the sounds of Marines firing paintballs at each other echoed through the woods.
It was all part of a training exercise led by Sgt. Jeremy Parrot of the Computer Repair Section here.
Parrot made the necessary arrangements and led his team to Hunting Area 4 Friday for a little hands-on training.
The Marines were met by Michael Pearlman of Albany Vacuum and Repairs, who provides paintball guns and safety equipment to Marines who didn't bring their own. Each weapon was tested to ensure any casualties would be simulated.
Pearlman has been involved with paintball for several years now and specializes in brining paintball equipment to various groups ranging from 10 to 40 individuals. He ensures the safety of the events and serves as referee.
According to Parrot, the Marines did a couple of classroom training sessions on squad movements before going to the field, and once they were there, they got the chance to practice what they had learned.
The group split into two teams. The noncommissioned officers faced off against the non-NCOs in five bouts of capture the flag, in which one team had to retrieve the other team's flag without being "killed" or they had to eliminate every opposing team member by hitting them with paintballs.
The NCOs won the first three bouts, hands down. When the non-NCOs realized their tactics weren't working, they changed their strategy to a more aggressive one -- winning the next two rounds.
The overall lesson seemed to be that on the field of battle, some of the most important factors are communicating well teamwork.
"When you move you have to make sure to pick you route from cover-point to cover-point," said Lance Cpl. Matthew Cadwell. "Don't let yourself get pinned in by fire from two different sides, and make sure you can communicate with your teammates."
Though the S-6 Repair Shop put the training evolution together, they extended the invitation to any Marines who were able to participate.
According to Parrott, the overall mission was accomplished. Marines solidified some of their knowledge of combat operations and gained confidence in their rifleman skills.
"I've learned a lot about situational awareness and paying more attention to what's going around me," said Lance Cpl. Joey Dalton. "I also learned to make sure the people around you are on your side because, even though the person next to you may appear to be wearing the same uniform as you, if your not sure, it could cost a Marine his life."
Parrott said plans are currently in the works to repeat the operation.
"I don't believe I would change anything as far as the setup goes," said Parrot. "Everything went very smoothly with the help of the game warden, Sgt. [Daryl] Rogers and Mr. [Eddie] Parramore from Installations and Logistics. It would be nice if we had the time to make a day or two training evolution out of this to actually have the Marines to walk patrols and set up fighting positions."
But, just as he helped his Marines learn, Parrott knows he may have to adjust fire.
"No matter how much you plan an attack or a defensive position it will never work as planned. As soon as Marines start getting hit everything goes out the window. Communication, quick thinking, and teamwork are key," said Parrott.