MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines with Bravo Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion participated in qualification exercises for gunner positions in light armored vehicle 25A2’s at Shooting Range 7, August 5, 2013.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Brundige, a platoon sergeant with Bravo Company, 2nd LAR, and Three Rivers, Mich. native, said this training is part of the annual qualifications for gunners.
“We get everyone out here for [qualification] to make sure everyone’s spun up and knows their jobs,” Brundige said. “Each platoon has four different crews, and at the end whoever shoots the best will claim the title ‘top gun.’”
The Marines spend each day going through five different courses that included still and moving fire, and concealment until they reached the sixth course. Course six was designated for qualifications and contained every aspect of the training thus far.
The Marines spend months maintaining the LAVs and the weapons systems and the biannual gunner qualifications give the Marines a rare opportunity to actually shoot the guns .
“This benefits us mostly because we maintain the gun all throughout the year, and we only get to shoot it a few times a year,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle Dukatz, a gunner with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company, and San Antonio, Texas native.
Brundige said that over all, the exercise ran smoothly and went well.
“We had two crews that shot extremely well, along with the rest of the company shooting very well,” said Brundige. “We’ve got about four new crews and the new guys are really grasping the whole concept of being an LAV gunner.”
Dukatz said that being able to do the gunner qualifications more often would greatly improve the Marines’ abilities as gunners and what they need to improve before they deploy.
“If we could do it more we would be a lot more accurate,” said Dukatz. “Our abilities would be improved substantially, so when we go on deployment, or on pre-deployment, we’d be right on top of it every time instead of having to get back into it.”
Since the Marines don’t get the opportunity to qualify very often, earning the title of ‘Top Gun’ becomes even more exciting.
If the Marines don’t claim ‘Top Gun’ they have a shot at the title in six months when 2nd LAR will qualify again.