News: 12th Marines roll out with triple sevens
Story by Lance Cpl. Kentavist Brackin
Marines and sailors from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, began their first day of firing at the East Fuji artillery range Sept. 12 during Artillery Relocation Training Program Exercise 2010-2 here.
“The purpose of this training is to maintain the operational readiness of the battalion in support of the U.S. - Japan security alliance,” said Lt. Col. Ricardo Miagany, the battalion commander of 3rd Bn., 12th Marines.
More than 390 Marines and sailors from 3rd Bn., 12th Marines are participating in the overall exercise including the Headquarters Battery, and temporarily assigned firing batteries, Battery B and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Battery M, 3rd Bn., 11th Marines.
Marines of Battery B fired artillery ammunition utilizing five M777 Howitzers, each crewed by a group of nine to 11 Marines.
The Howitzer has a range of 15 to 25 miles depending on the ammunition fired and uses a digital fire control system for navigation, aiming and self-location, increasing its accuracy and ability to be quickly employed, according to Lance Cpl. Tony I. A. Kantor, a gunner with Battery B.
The Marines fired 155mm high explosive, smoke or illumination ammunitions from the Howitzers throughout the day in varying quantities, depending on the fire mission given to them.
The training we do here is extremely important because most of these guys have not trained in an area such as Fuji, said Sgt. Dustin R. Zimmerman, the section chief for Gun 5, Battery B.
According to Zimmerman, one obstacle he and his Marines had to deal with during the exercise was the weather. “It would go from hot to cold, sunny to cloudy and clear to foggy,” he added.
“This is a good opportunity for the Marines,” said Zimmerman. “They get a chance to build on the skills that they already have while strengthening the relationship we have built with other units.”