News: Weapons Company prepares for oncoming missions
Story by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
USS KEARSARGE - Marines and sailors with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practiced the preparation phase for any mission that might be tasked while underway aboard the USS Kearsarge, Jan. 27, 2013.
When called over the ship’s loud speaker, the Marines and sailors gathered their weapons and gear. With different skill sets, multiple teams from Weapons Co. prepared their armament.
“Today, we practiced staging our gear for a (tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel) training mission,” said Lance Cpl. Zerak M. Renner, a Prescott, Ariz., native and machine gunner with Search Team 1. “We were running through the motions to ensure everything will go smoothly if we ever do get a TRAP mission or any other mission.”
For these Marines and sailors, getting their gear ready and accounted for is critical.
“Once we discovered we had to prepare for a TRAP mission, we went to our armory and started bringing our weapons down,” said Lance Cpl. David A Bagot, a Sterling, Va., native and Combined Anti-Armor Team 1 machine gunner. “We had a lot of weapon systems that we had to get down to the well deck. To ensure nothing was damaged and everything moved safely, each weapon system had two people carrying it.”
With every minute being a critical asset ticking away, timeliness was essential.
“We try to do everything as quickly as possible, but things are busy on ship and there are a lot of moving parts – such as everyone walking around the narrow halls,” said Bagot. “We are given a timeline and it is important that we meet that timeline at our level or all the planning from higher up gets messed up. The quicker you get to where you need to be, the more time you have to either prep gear or make last-minute changes.”
Once gear was staged and accounted for, one of the teams practiced test-firing weapons into open water without ammunition.
Renner said this was important so they knew their weapons were functional and in good working order before being employed.
The Marines and sailors completed their tasks in a very timely manner and attributed it to their leadership and help from the sailors aboard the ship.
“Our leadership has gone through similar situations and knew what to do. They trained us well for this sort of thing,” said Bagot. “It was also very helpful when the sailors cleared paths for us to help us maneuver through the ship.”
The 26th MEU and Amphibious Squadron 4, known as a PHIBRON, are conducting PHIBRON-MEU Integration in preparation for their Composite Training Unit Exercise, the final phase of a six-month pre-deployment training program. The 26th MEU operates continuously across the globe, providing the president and unified combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, sea-based quick reaction force. The MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations.