News: Marines and Australian soldiers aim to shoot each other’s weapons
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, and soldiers with Delta Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, conducted their first bilateral training exercise and sent rounds down range using each other’s weapon systems during a familiarization shoot, here, May 10.
During the shoot, Marines fired the Australian soldier’s F88 Austeyr, and the Australian soldiers fired the Marines’ M4 carbine and M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.
Before either branch fired the weapon systems, they gave each other classes on the characteristics and operations of each rifle.
“The classes are really formal,” said Australian Army Pvt. Campbell Noakes, rifleman, Delta Co., 5th Bn., RAR. “They had a lot of information in them, so I did learn a lot in a short time.”
Once they became familiar with the weapons, they engaged stationary and moving targets from approximately 100 yards away.
Many of the Marines said there were slight differences in the design of the F88 Austeyr.
“I liked shooting their weapon,” said Lance Cpl. Carson Strickland, team leader, 3rd Platoon, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D, and a Sacramento, Calif., native. “The trigger pull is a little easier on theirs, and the magazine isn’t in the way of the trigger assembly – I liked that.”
Even the Australian soldiers noticed differences between the weapons.
“Most of their weapon systems can shoot a lot further,” said Noakes, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. “They pack more of a punch, they’re a lot lighter and more versatile.”
Both the Australian soldiers and the Marines say they’re excited to continue training together.
I think the junior Marines got a lot out of this,” said Staff Sgt. Edward Erdmann, platoon sergeant, 3rd Plt, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D, and a Fresno, Calif., native. “[Being here] is something they’re going to get to tell their kids or grand kids or even their junior Marines. They had a good time.”