News: H&S Marines train with crew served weapon
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion learned how to operate the M2 .50 caliber machinegun during crew served weapons training, Aug. 20.
1st CEB Sappers gave Marines a period of instruction on the basics of the weapon. Sappers are instructors for advanced engineering techniques.
“Before this class I didn’t know what a 50 cal was let alone how to operate one, clean one or break one down into more than one piece,” said Pfc. Kenji Kamara, 20, an administrative clerk from Bowie, Md.
Each Marine was given 100 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition and expected to engage targets set up at various distances.
“It was useful training since I’m going to be a gunner for the detail,” said Lance Cpl. Alex Gonzales, 20, a supply administration clerk from Bakersfield, Calif. “It gave me confidence in myself knowing that if I needed to operate the 50 cal I could do it.”
Both Gonzales and Kamara will be members of a personal security detail for 1st CEB’s battalion commander. Once in country, they will go from being clerks to riflemen.
“I feel like it is an opportunity for me to get outside the wire and see things for myself, be able to tell people what I saw instead of the other way around. After watching the war on TV for all these years I will be a part of it now,” Gonzales explained. “If I wasn’t part of PSD I probably would never leave the wire.”
1st CEB is currently conducting Enhanced Mojave Viper, a pre-deployment training evolution used to prepare Marines for Afghanistan. They are nearly halfway through their training and scheduled to complete EMV next month.
Marines continue to prepare for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan where they will use the skills learned here in real life situations.
“I’m not looking forward to leaving my family behind but it is just something you have to do as a Marine,” Kamara said.