News: 2/11 shakes off some dust
Story by Lance Cpl. Tony Simmons
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines from Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, participated in a battalion fire exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 21-25, 2014.
The exercise is designed to help develop the battery’s ability in planning and execution of artillery fires before the battalion’s next deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit this year.
“The exercise gets the gun line working together,” explained Sgt. Matthew W. Christman, a section chief from Las Vegas. “It is a good way to find the battery’s strong points and build up any weak areas.”
The section chief is responsible for the verification of all data before any rounds are fired and making sure the area is safe.
The training exercise began in a northern training area of Camp Pendleton called Case Springs. On July 23, 2/11 moved to artillery firing areas in the southern portion of the base.
Upon reaching an artillery firing area, Marines hastily jump out of the gun truck and lay the Howitzer in a matter of minutes.
Laying the gun involves unhooking the weapon from the truck, positioning the gun in correspondence with the aiming circle, setting all lateral limits and digging pits to help absorb the gun’s recoil. After the gun has been laid, each section of Marines must set up a camouflage net to cover their ammo truck and gun truck, explained Christman.
“We have a bunch of Marines from different batteries that moved to Fox Battery,” said Cpl. Eddie R. Simples, a gunner and assistant section chief in 2/11, Fox Battery. “We are getting a feel for each other since this is the first time a lot of us are working together.”
Although this is the first time the Marines are working together in this battery, noncommissioned officers say the expectations of their Marines are high.
Marines are expected to follow orders, maintain attention to detail and ensure a safe environment while firing, said Christman. Noncommissioned officers and junior Marines must retain knowledge that builds good habits on the gun line.
“I expect my Marines to work hard, and strive to do better in our job field,” said Simples. “I want them to challenge themselves, and once they’ve learned their job, move forward to become efficient in other positions.”
The training allows Marines to “shake off the dust,” become better trained and more readily available to act when deployed.