News: Marines launch grenades during live-fire exercise
Story by Lance Cpl. Jose Lujano
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Plumes of dirt rose into the air as grenades detonated on impact and sent a thunderous echo throughout the secluded Central Training Area near Camp Hansen.
Marines with General Support Motor Transport Company honed their skills during a live-fire training exercise May 14.
Approximately 40 Marines with the company, which is part of Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, fired the MK19 40 mm grenade launcher, M203 grenade launcher and the M32 semiautomatic grenade launcher to familiarize themselves with the different weapons systems.
“The training allows the Marines to step out of their normal jobs and become familiar with various weapons systems they could employ within a combat environment,” said 2nd Lt. Kathleen E. Hill, a platoon commander with the company. “Training with weapons is an effective way to build combat readiness by instilling confidence.”
Hands-on training is the most effective way to learn the armaments rather than memorizing weapon-system functions in a classroom, according to Hill.
“The Marines had great instructors educating them about weapon control, conditions and actions to clear stoppages that could happen,” said Hill. “The Marines fired 1,200 rounds: 600 were 40 mm practice grenades and 600 were 40 mm high-explosive, dual-purpose grenades.”
Firing and understanding the capabilities of a vast array of weapons is one of the Marine Corps’ distinguishing characteristics.
However, the training is not just about the skill of shooting but working to internalize the warrior mind-set necessary to be prepared to fight at any given moment.
“Every Marine is a rifleman, and it is important to continue developing our warfighting skills, especially since we take pride in being the first to fight,” said Cpl. Jacob D. Rogers, a motor vehicle operator with the company. “It is imperative to be prepared to fight tonight, and it is paramount to maintain an operational mind-set.”
Having multiple opportunities to work with the weapons systems pave the road for success in a combat zone because the decisions originate from the fundamentals of this training, according to Rogers.
The training is vital for operational readiness, especially for some of the junior Marines who are participating in the live-fire exercise for the first time with the company.
“This is awesome,” said Pfc. Alexis O. Lazo, a motor vehicle operator with the company. “I have been on Okinawa for three weeks, and I have already had the chance to fire many different types of grenade launchers.”
Overall, when training with weapons systems, rehearsals are crucial in becoming skilled with various grenade launchers and increase the company’s ability to operate across a broad spectrum of missions in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Hill.