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    ‘Kings of Battle’ Marines teach, learn, new firing system

    ‘Kings of Battle’ Marines teach, learn, new firing system

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Jacob Barber | Marines with Charlie and Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, receive a...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Jacob Barber 

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii

    KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii - Marines with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, employed the new Expeditionary Fire Support System M327 120-mm mortar weapon system at Landing Zone 216, Wednesday.

    The new system, used for the first time by the battalion’s Charlie Battery during Operation Spartan Fury at Pohakuloa Training Area, was designed to improve the capabilities of artillery units throughout the Marine Corps.

    “We don’t always have to go to the Island of Hawaii to sharpen our skills as cannoneers,” said Cpl. Robert Parente, a field artillery cannoneer with Charlie Battery and a New Rochelle, N.Y. native, who employed the EFSS while training at Pohakuloa Training Area in August. “It’s small training evolutions like this that really keep us on top of our game and everyone is able to benefit — from our crew chiefs to our new privates first class.”

    Parente was one of a few Marines chosen to be present during the training, so he could pass on his knowledge to his brothers-in-arms.

    “We’re out here today to teach,” Parente said. “We have some Marines from Bravo and Alpha Batteries who have not yet learned about this system. We are taking them through classes to better understand the functions, while also implementing practical application on weapon placement loading, and reloading.”

    According to Parente, the weapon system is lightweight, extremely mobile and centered toward short operations. It can be transported by MV-22 Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, amphibious assault vehicles and transportable vehicles, similar to small Humvees. The system also uses two types of 120-mm ammunition known as smooth bored and rifled rounds. The rifled round has ten charges and several grooves that allow it to reach a further distance than the smooth bored. Unlike the M777 Howitzer weapons system regularly employed by artillery battalions, the EFSS is fired by using sights instead of computers.

    “I like the EFSS because it’s like a mini Howitzer but takes less work and fewer people to operate,” said Pfc. Randy Covington, a field artillery cannoneer with Bravo Battery and a Chicago native. “This firing system allows us to send more rounds downrange at a quicker rate and is a lot more maneuverable than our Howitzers. It also takes us back to the basics of not relying on a computer to target in and shoot. This system is all manual.”

    Sgt. Albert Camacho, a section chief with Charlie Battery and a Lancaster, Calif. native, believes the new system brings a strong emphasis on maneuverability and fire support, and also strengthens small unit leadership within the batteries.

    “Leadership is vital to our job and being able to practice it at all different levels makes us stronger as a whole,” Camacho said. “We have corporals teaching sergeants and lance corporals taking charge of their section and teaching their peers. With the EFSS, you don’t need a nine-man team; it only takes five Marines. As a result, we have a lot more Marines fulfilling leadership roles who might have not had a chance before.”

    The “Kings of Battle” will soon be gearing up to send Charlie Battery to Okinawa as a part of the unit deployment program.



    Date Taken: 01.16.2013
    Date Posted: 01.18.2013 14:48
    Story ID: 100755
    Location: KANEOHE BAY, HI, US 
    Hometown: CHICAGO, IL, US
    Hometown: LANCASTER, CA, US
    Hometown: NEW ROCHELLE, NY, US

    Web Views: 180
    Downloads: 0