USMC Land Navigation

Land navigation consists of being able to use skills that can help one traverse through unfamiliar terrain by foot or in a vehicle. To be successful at land navigation, one must be able to shoot an azimuth (the angle between the north vector and the perpendicular projection of the star down onto the horizon, usually measured in degrees), read maps, and use a compass, among numerous other navigational skills.

Land navigation is essential in military training. Marine Corps recruits are first introduced to land navigation while at boot camp. Later, more advanced instruction is given to them while at the School of Infantry (SOI). Using their land navigation skills, Marines must work as a team to reach specific checkpoints laid out for them on a map. The terrain is rough and full of trees (Camp Geiger), cacti (Camp Pendleton), bushes, and various other wildlife.

Losing your orientation is easy. Fortunately for the recruits/Marines, they receive several days of instruction and demonstration before being asked to navigate on their own without the help of an instructor. Once a Marine has proven to be able to effectively maneuver around unknown terrain, he or she will be asked to do so again - this time at night.

Reviewed by CH

Land Navigation

Marines with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, navigate through a woodland environment during a land navigation course aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 30, 2015. Every Marine is taught the fundamentals of land navigation, becoming inherently proficient in finding directions, map reading, and course plotting.
—USMC photo by Corporal Tyler A. Andersen

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