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The mission of the rifle squad is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat. The rifle squad consists of three fire teams, each of which is built around an automatic weapon and controlled by a fire team leader. The squad is composed of 13 men: a sergeant (squad leader) and three fire teams of four men each. Each fire team normally consists of a corporal (fire team leader/grenadier), two lance corporals (automatic rifleman and assistant automatic rifleman), and a private or private first class (rifleman).

The Rifle Squad prepares for, reacts to, and participates in operations in a nuclear, biological and chemical environment. It prepares for and conducts patrols, conducts continuing and immediate actions, prepares for and conducts personnel/vehicle checkpoint operations, and participates in offensive operations, defensive operations, and security operations. The Squad conducts over-watch and support of another unit by fire. It participates in and conducts operations in urban environments, and constructs and breaches obstacles and field fortifications. The Squad participates in foot, mechanized, motorized, and helicopter-borne movement. It prepares for and conducts squad level offensive, defensive, and security operations.

The Squad Leader carries out the orders issued to him by the Platoon Commander. He is responsible for the discipline, appearance, training, control, conduct, and welfare of his squad at all times, as well as the condition, care, and economical use of its weapons and equipment. In combat, he is also responsible for the tactical employment, fire discipline, fire control, and maneuver of his squad. His T/O weapon is the M16A2 service rifle.

The Squad Leader trains his squad in the performance of tasks, which support platoon training objectives. He maintains the condition, care, and economical use of assigned weapons and equipment. The Squad Leader is capable of performing all the tasks required of a riflemen, Assistant Automatic Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, and Fire Team Leader. He carries, performs operator maintenance for, and is a proficient marksman with an M16A2 service rifle. He is capable of performing operator maintenance for and engaging targets with M249 squad automatic weapon and M203 Grenade Launcher. He also engages targets with an M136 light anti-armor weapon and an M67 hand grenade.

The Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad will meet future requirements for a fully integrated combat system to improve the lethality, mobility, survivability, sustainability, training and education, and C2 capabilities for Marine infantry.

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