MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with Battery A, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, conducted a multitude of fire missions during a field exercise at Range GP 7 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 17, 2014.
The battery was firing on targets up to 5,000 kilometers away, with each Marine rotating through the different roles in an artillery gun crew to master the various duties required in a Battery, such as the gunner, recorder, assistant gunner and cannoneer. The crews were also rotating section chiefs so that each Marine could perform well no matter who was alongside them, depicting a scenario of battlefield preparedness in any situation.
“We’re in the mindset of training to standards regardless of who is on the gun line,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Dickey, platoon sergeant, Battery A, GCEITF.
Crews moved quickly to load their M777 A2 howitzers upon receiving a fire mission. The proficiency the Marines gain now as they conduct such tasks as laying elevation and deflection and preparing, loading and firing shells or ensuring proper supervision of both will reflect when they are evaluated at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
“These live-fire exercises are preparing the Marines to be successful (in Twentynine Palms),” Dickey said. “By (repetitively) going through these duties as a cannoneer, they are getting that muscle memory down.”
The Marines say they feel their teamwork is making their upcoming evaluation a feasible objective, and through the duties that complement each other, have already shown improvement in their integrated operations.
“(Twentynine Palms) is going to be (challenging) for all of us but we are getting stronger,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Arellano, field artillery cannoneer, Battery A, GCEITF. “As a team, everyone is coming along.”
From October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will conduct individual and collective skills training in designated 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.