News: Rolling out the thunder: Bridge Co. trains with grenade systems
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Thunder rumbled in the distance while flashes of light flickered in the low-hanging clouds. This storm was not caused by nature, however, but by the Marines of Bridge Company.
Service members with Bridge Co., 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group made their own thunder with various grenade systems here, Sept. 10 and 17.
The Marines used M-67 fragmentation grenades, the standard hand grenade of the United States military, the first day of training, and M-32 Multiple Grenade Launchers, rifle-mounted M-203 grenade launchers, and automatic Mk. 19 Grenade Launchers the second day.
“It was kind of like crawl, walk, run,” said 1st Lt. Cullen G. Tores, a platoon commander with Bridge Co. “We wanted to start off with hand grenades and then move into projectiles. We wanted to really focus on, and safely and efficiently employ, the weapon systems.”
Throughout the training, the Marines each threw several grenades and fired more from the hand-held grenade launchers, but the most firepower they had the opportunity to use came from the Mk. 19s. The Marines used the Mk. 19s to pound the targets with belts of 16 grenades at distances up to 1,500 yards.
Sunset did not end the training, however. The Marines reloaded and waited for flares to illuminate the range enough to continue firing at night.
“The night shoot is definitely a lot harder than the day shoot because of the low-light conditions,” said Cpl. Chad J. Cratsenburg, a combat engineer with the company. “We couldn’t even see the targets until they got the flares in the air. There was a lot more going on, a little more yelling and more chaos, but we got it done and did a good job.”
The night fire exercise was only part of the training, but it may prove invaluable on night convoys or defensive actions outside of the United States.
“First and foremost, it’s about making sure [the Marines] are proficient in a wide span of responsibilities,” said Tores, a Dallas, Texas, native. “Engineers are responsible for a lot, engineering-wise, but also keep that provisional infantry platoon task in mind as well.”
Training grenades were used by the Marines to prepare them both mentally and physically for the live-fire portion of the exercises, and were intended to keep the service members technically and tactically proficient while using weapons they might use when deployed.
“The Marines didn’t join the Marine Corps to sit in an office,” said Tores. “They wanted to come out and do stuff [in the field]. We want to get back into the rhythm of going out into the field, coming back, cleaning weapons, and going back out into the field.”