Photo Information

CAMP FALLUJAH, IRAQ -- Marines from all companies in 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment were taught how to use the new optics, Common Laser Range Finder Vector 21 Bravo. Moving out of the classroom, the Marines took time to go through practical application and asked questions on how to operate and set up the system. The Marines are the few who will further train their comrades to be able to use the new optic equipment. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Photo by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Upgraded equipment gets first use during combat operations

11 May 2005 | Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment received training May, 11, covering the operation and preventive maintenance of newly upgraded optics.

The battalion was issued the Common Laser Range Finder (CLRF) Vector 21 B for use in combat operations while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

The new optic system is lightweight, compact and battery powered.  Internally the V21 B has a laser range finder, digital compass and 6-volt battery.  It is also equipped with a night vision adapter and optic system. 

The optic looks like a large pair of binoculars, but to the Marines trained to use the system it is much more. They are able to sight targets from a great distance, obtain accurate positions and call for fire support. 

“It does everything the Viper 2 did, but this one comes with all its own gear and is self-sustaining,” explained Lance Cpl. Dan E. Haack, a Gladbrook, Iowa, native, speaking of the equipment’s predecessor.

The optic is an upgrade of the Viper 2, previously brought into use during Operation Enduring Freedom.  The Viper was produced to support operations being conducted in Afghanistan, according to Maj. Don J. Carrier, team leader of Targeting Systems Team, Fire Support Teams of Quantico, Va.

When the Viper was produced a few years ago only about 200 were manufactured, and they were only used in OEF. 

The Vector 21 B will be used Marine Corps wide.  Approximately 1800 are being produced and distributed to the battalions and regiments deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. 

“This is a full blown project we are doing now compared to when the Viper came out. We just produced that for the main efforts in Afghanistan,” Carrier explained.

“The Marines only need two to three seconds to be able to get a very accurate position and call for artillery, mortars or whatever the situation dictates,” Carrier stated.

The training these Marines received gave them the tools to return to their unit and instruct their brethren in its use.

“We will have formal classes along with doing some one-on-one teaching with a lot of on-the-job training,” explained Haack, a 2002 Hammond High School graduate.

The upgraded optics the battalion received is yet another asset its Marines can use to eliminate insurgent activity here and provide the Iraqi people with a safe and secure homeland.

“It’s tied directly to a global positioning system so we can have it at all of our fixed sites,” explained CWO-2 Jonathan R. Rabert, Battalion Gunner.  “In the end it helps us get the grids of the exact location, eliminating the need to map out the location or try to get up as close as possible to get the grid location.”