Photo By Sgt. Christopher Zahn | 2nd Lt. Stephanie Grabor, and 2nd Lt. Ryan Aukerman, students, Alpha Co., The Basic School, study a map before calling for 155mm artillery fire support during a call for fire exercise.
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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - Is the deadliest piece of equipment carried by a Marine into combat; his rifle, automatic weapon or even a grenade launcher? Perhaps, it’s just a radio.
The big guns are found on the other end of a radio connection, and a trained platoon commander can use it to call for all manner of supporting arms. However, it takes training to accurately call for that type of support.
Valentine’s Day allowed the Marines of Alpha Co., The Basic School to get a glimpse of that responsibility as they conducted their first live fire, call-for-fire training event.
“They’ll leave the range today understanding how to integrate indirect fire into their offensive or defensive scheme of maneuver, which will give them the advantage to win when facing the enemy,” said Capt. Courtney Boston, Alpha Co., executive officer.
The call-for-fire process is complex and each lieutenant spends hours upon hours in classrooms and simulators under the tutelage of combat-tested instructors before they do it for real.
“Practical application on digital photos doesn’t really do this [experience] justice,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Aukerman, student, Alpha Co. “It doesn’t drive it home like today does.”
Aukerman went on to say that he felt, “much more confident now,” after he was able to get a more hands-on experience.
That sureness is key to their development as the officers learn the skills needed to be a provisional infantry platoon commander.
“Having the capability of implementing indirect fire along with direct fire weapons is exactly what a Marine Corps officer is supposed to be capable of and what they will be capable of when they leave TBS,” Boston said. “They leave here with a lot of confidence and understanding of the capabilities that the Marine Corps can bring to bear.”
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QUANTICO, VA, US
This work, Shot Out! Officers learn call for fire skills, by Sgt Christopher Zahn, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.