QUANTICO, Va. - The morning wind ripped across the berm at Range 14, calling goose bumps to attention on the necks of the Finance Section Marines from Marine Corp Base Quantico’s Combat Development Company on Dec. 11, 2013.
Firing M249 Squad Automatic Weapons and M240B machine guns aren’t part of the typical daily plan for the Finance Section Marines from CD Co., but to the leaders of the unit, it was an important part of their training.
“We have the comptroller finance section coming out here to do a live-fire shoot to familiarize themselves with the machine gun,” said Gunnery Sgt. Marlon Romero, CD Co. gunnery sergeant. “Essentially, they work in an office and wanted to come out here to get some training.”
Romero said that even with a desk job, being familiar with operating the weapons could be reality training for the future.
“With the way the Marine Corps is being employed, these Marines could easily find themselves in a situation where they’re not just standing post, but may be part of a convoy, or may be a turret gunner,” said Romero. “If they know how to employ it here, [when] they get in that situation, where they have to be behind that weapon, they’re going to know what to do with that weapon.”
Master Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Newton, finance chief, commented that this type of training can be a good way to remind Marines of who they are.
“These are the things that make Marines Marines,” said Newton. “They just need to get out every now and then to realize that. They have to know that we are still fighting men.”
Although training was a primary reason for the live fire, some see other benefits resulting from the exercise.
“It’s exciting and pushes the Marines’ enjoyment of the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Kevin Wilson, travel deck noncommissioned officer in charge. “[It’s a] huge morale boost, [and] camaraderie at its best.”