MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Marines with the Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Company, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force during a Mk-153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon (SMAW) live-fire at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 18, 2014.
Marines with Anti-Armor Section were conducting a four-day SMAW live-fire, where anti-tank missilemen (MOS 0352) were cross training with assaultmen (MOS 0351) in order to qualify on the SMAW.
“The SMAW live-fire ranges help with the muscle memory of the weapon, and apply the basics of what we’ve learned at ITB (Infantry Training Battalion),” said Cpl. Janelle A. Lopez, assaultman with Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Co., GCEITF. “This is my first time in the field as an (assaultman), and for this training, all the missilemen are learning what the assaultmen learn.”
The Secretary of Defense observed three two-Marine teams fire the rocket launcher. Lopez and Cpl. Rebecca A. Floto, assaultman, Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Co., GCEITF, served as gunners during the firing of the SMAW.
“There was a little pressure to hit the target, but I hit the target,” said Floto. “I just wanted to make a good impression to show that we’re doing very well here.”
Initiated by a Team Leader's fire command, the Marines with the Anti-Armor Section first fired the 9mm spotting rifle in order to confirm the range to the designated target. Once confirmed, the Marines were then able to fire the High Explosive Dual Mode (HEDM) rocket with a higher degree of accuracy.
“You have to get two consistent spotting rounds on target before firing the rocket,” said Lopez. “The spot shooting allows you to get on target, and then you fire the rocket for a hit.”
During the Marines’ duration out in the field, regardless of whether they were firing the rocket or conducting dry runs in the cold weather, Floto said she enjoys her job as an assaultman.
“I love shooting the rockets,” said Floto. “It’s a huge adrenaline rush because as soon as you pull the trigger, you feel the boom at the end.”
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.