News: New Zealanders maneuver, engage targets during Dawn Blitz 2013
Story by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Moving from barricade-to-barricade while engaging targets with Steyr AUG assault rifles, New Zealand Army soldiers serving with 2nd, 1st Battalion, put their skills to the test during a live-fire shoot at Range 218 here during Exercise Dawn Blitz 2013, June 14.
Designed to simulate shooting in an urban environment, the soldiers were timed and evaluated as they shot downrange from behind walls and bunkers and conducted tactical reloads before moving to their next objective.
“Out here we’re trying to introduce a more unconventional type of shooting,” said Sgt. Shane Fredericks, a platoon commander serving with 1st Bn., 1st Marine Regiment. “Once you get to Afghanistan and everything else that you go through with war, you’re not always going to be shooting from the standing or the traditional prone position. We’re trying to get them to understand there’s going to be times where you’re going to be cocked off to your side or you won’t be in an ideal to position to shoot from.”
As the soldiers maneuvered down the range, they were tasked with shooting through holes in a wall, from the sides of walls and from uncomfortable positions. While the Marines of 1st Bn., 1st Marines, were at each barricade to instruct techniques to engage each target, they also learned techniques from the soldiers.
“It’s a great opportunity to train alongside them on ranges like today because just in the few days of us training together, the New Zealanders have learned some of the tactics and techniques we use today and at the same time, our Marines have learned some of theirs,” said Fredericks, a native of Syracuse, N.Y.
After sharing experiences on training ranges during Exercise Dawn Blitz, the Marines were able to see how the soldiers operate in many different situations that mimic what they may face in a combat situation. By learning each other’s weapon systems and tactics, interoperability between Marines and New Zealand soldiers here may enhance their ability to work together in a future operation.
“The big thing were trying to accomplish during Dawn Blitz is to build confidence with each other,” said Maj. Ryan Hoyle, the 1st Marine Regiment operations officer. “The ability to have a lance corporal, corporal, or lieutenant to be able to work with the Canadian or New Zealand partners and understand what their capabilities are, and for them to understand ours, is crucial.”
After showcasing their skills to the Marines on Range 218, the soldiers will conduct land navigation tests, a machine gun shoot, and will train in the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT) before the end of Dawn Blitz 2013.