News: Marines send rounds down range for training
Story by Pfc. Melissa Eschenbrenner
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion conducted a live-fire training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, June 7.
The battalion’s main mission is to provide aerial defenses with the low altitude stinger missile and ground support with the 240B and M2 .50-caliber machine guns.
This training with the secondary crew serve weapons is to familiarize Marines with the weapon and allow them to practice aiming and tracking targets.
New Marines have not trained as thoroughly with the weapons so it is important for the section leaders to ensure they are confident and proficient in every aspect of the mission, explained Pfc. James R. Murtari, a gunner with 3rd LAAD Bn., “B” Battery.
“I wasn’t nervous or scared, just psyched for this training,” said Murtari, an Auburn, N.Y., native. “We never got to fire the M2 .50-caliber machine gun attached to the gun truck so it was something new to learn.”
As part of the training, Marines took classes and performed practical application to learn weapon conditions, characteristics and the procedures to break down and clean the weapons.
The unit takes it one step at a time to ensure Marines get the best training possible, added 1st Lt. Justin McCann, the 1st platoon commander with 3rd LAAD Bn., “B” Battery, and a Greenwood, Ark., native.
Training also helps build morale and trust between Marines. When Marines work together and motivate one another during training, they can be confident in one another’s abilities. This gives the Marines the opportunity to bond and learn about one another on the job, explained Murtari.
“Training helps you to learn about your unit,” said Murtari. “You have to stay close to your unit because they are the people who will have your back in combat.”
The 3rd LAAD Bn. must always be ready for deployment at a moment’s notice. Having training in all aspects of weapons ensures preparedness for anything that may arise.