MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif --
with Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task
Force, began their Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity
assessment at Range 107, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine
Palms, California, April 23, 2015.
The first day of the assessment
reflected offensive operations within the 0341 mortar man military occupational
specialty. Marines were required to make a one-mile four-man team movement with
packs weighing approximately 35 pounds, plus approximately 20 pounds of gear
and equipment corresponding to their M224 60mm light-weight mortar systems.
“Knowledge in (this military occupational specialty) is a
big thing out here for all of us,” said Sgt. Elizabeth A. Dollinger, mortar
man, Mortar Platoon, Weapons Co., GCEITF. “This (training) is short,
high-intensity, shoot, move and communicate.”
When the team reached their objective, they were
immediately given a fire mission. The team rushed ahead to secure their mortars,
with the gunner carefully holding a 60mm high-explosive round, and then quickly
dropping it down the tube at the behest of the assistant gunner. A total of
three rounds were fired at their position, with a second fire mission and three
more rounds following after.
The final portion of day one required Marines to work
together to lift a 220-pound dummy off the ground and simulate a casualty
evacuation a total distance of 100 meters.
“Overall, it is going good,” said Sgt. Darryl Veal,
Position Safety Officer, Mortar Platoon, Weapons Co., GCEITF. “It’s a work-load
on everyone’s body, but they are pushing through and showing at the end of the
day what it takes to be a Marine.”
two of the assessment began with the Marines stepping off for a four and a
half-mile movement to Range 110. The team was required to carry packs weighing
approximately 50 pounds, in addition to varying equipment for the M252 81mm
medium-weight mortar system being used in the evolution.
Upon arrival at the range and the
words “fire mission!” teams rushed to the firing line and set their mortar in
place for a defensive operation. This time, they were required to use ten 81mm high-explosive rounds to
strike two targets in a timely manner. When targets were down and rounds were
spent, the assessment was complete.
“My reason or being out here is that I know I can do
this,” Dollinger said. “I want to put data out there that can help in any way
to show ‘yes’ this is a good idea for females or ‘no’ it is not. I’m here to
support the needs of the Marine Corps.”
From October 2014 to July 2015, the
GCEITF will conduct individual and collective level skills training in
designated ground combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate
the standards-based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated
operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.