News: New Zealand soldiers share weapons knowledge with U.S. Marines
Story by Sgt. Jacob Harrer
LINTON ARMY CAMP, New Zealand – Few Marines ever have the opportunity to hold the Individual Weapon Steyr, New Zealand’s standard issue rifle, but New Zealand Army soldier recently spun some Marines up on the operation and handling of the weapon.
On green grass fields here, soldiers from the 25 Engineer Support Squadron gave a weapons familiarization course to a platoon-sized detachment of U.S. Marines from the 11th Marine Regiment, June 11. Marines learned the proper safeties, handling techniques, disassembly and assembly and operations of the rifle.
They also fired blank rounds through single shot and automatic fire.
For most of the New Zealand soldiers, this was their first time meeting U.S. Marines. Cpl. Kerry R. Brockelbank, a carpenter with 25 E.S.S., trained with Marines in East Timor in 2009, but he knew very little about them besides their amphibious capabilities, which he said he admired.
Brockelbank said the Marines’ procedures and techniques were very compatible with their own, including the way Marines inspected their weapons for jams.
The coaches, comprised of noncommissioned officers, taught the course in a steady and relaxed pace, instructing Marines individually through all parts of instruction.
“The coaching is very, very similar to ours,” said 1st Lt. Michael A. Mathews, a Pittsburg native and a fire direction control officer with Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. “The respect toward safety and the properness of doing things is as important to them as it is to us.”
The individual attention helped the Marines pick up the techniques properly and quickly. Most Marines said they felt like the New Zealand soldiers coached them like the instructors at home.
“It’s pretty awesome that we can talk to them like we normally do,” said Lance Cpl. Peter L. Rupe, a Bakersfield, Calif. native and heavy equipment mechanic with Headquarters Battery, 11th Marines. “The only difference between us is the weapons.”