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Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force

Integrated Task Force LAV Platoon lights up targets

By | | January 26, 2015


Marines with Light Armored Vehicle Platoon, Company B, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, sent rounds downrange during a live-fire exercise at Range SR-10 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jan. 26, 2015.

Marines worked in crews of three, utilizing their M242 Bushmaster 25mm chain guns, and M240B machine guns, one mounted co-axially and one pintle-mounted, to conduct the offensive and defensive engagements of table four of the LAV-25 gunnery manual.

“We are downrange engaging different targets,” said Lance Cpl. Paula A. Valerio, LAV crewman, LAV Plt., Co. B, GCEITF. “All (the) while better learning how to drive, how to shoot and how to communicate.”

LAV crews rolled up to different berms on the range and fired armor-piercing discarding sabot rounds and high-explosive incendiary rounds on their targets. As LAVs maneuvered back down the path they came, Marines continued their course of fire, simulating a retrograde.

“This is some of the best training I have ever had,” said Cpl. Thomas E. Debatt, vehicle commander, LAV Plt., Co. B, GCEITF. “Everyone was on target, getting their drills down and moving fast.”

Crew members have been rapidly changing roles to get experience in each of the realms of responsibility, to include gunner and driver. The platoon will be evaluated on their capabilities as an integrated LAV crew next month at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“We have been preparing for our West Coast evaluation,” Debatt said. “I think it is going to go well and everyone here is going to be outstanding. I volunteered because it is going to be the next big thing in the Marine Corps. I want to be a part of history, and this right here is history.”

Following the successful training exercises of the Tank Platoon and Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, the Marines with LAV Platoon exhibited the same confidence.

“As a female in the Marine Corps, I wanted to make a difference and show that we can all come together and work as one,” Valerio said. “We are more than ready, and we are excited to (go to Twentynine Palms) and finish our mission.”

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.