Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Morgan Canady-Town, a machine gunner with Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, operates a simulated FGM-148 Javelin during a simulated anti-armor exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., August 8, 2015. For machine gunners, the exercise served as cross-training to familiarize non-missile men with missile systems. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

2/2 Weapons Co. Marines lock on targets

14 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Paul S. Martinez 2nd Marine Division

To effectively destroy an armored target, a Marine must utilize something that packs a much bigger punch than their standard 5.56mm or 7.62mm rounds. Fortunately for the Marine Corps, the FGM-148 Javelin missile system and M41A4 Saber missile system can do just that, every time.

Marines with Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, conducted simulated FGM-148 Javelin and M41A4 Saber missile system training aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, August 8. 

The set-up, inside a room on the first floor, featured two simulated Sabers and two Javelins wired to individual computer systems that produced a simulation for effectively operating and firing the systems, similar to the indoor simulated marksmanship trainer commonly used for the M16A4 service rifle or M240B medium machine gun.

“This simulator allows anti-tank missile men to cross train the machine gunners,” said Lance Cpl. Hamdem A. Abushehab, an anti-tank missile man with the platoon. “It also gives them the chance to use something that they normally don’t get to handle often.”

The purpose of the simulation was to allow anti-tank missile men and machine gunners within the platoon to increase their proficiency with the system without expending the real-world cost of the approximately $1.7 million Saber system and its tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided missiles.

“The Marines all went through the remedial actions, such as misfires and troubleshooting the system,” Abushehab said. “Then we moved onto combat-oriented scenarios, such as single, multiple and moving target engagements. It’s something to continuously improve on.”

Both systems included monitors that allowed one or more Marines to supervise the field of view and target(s) as seen by the gunner, and offer direction if needed. The screens generated full landscapes to reflect areas of operation on a global scale, and even boasted scenarios where Marines had to quickly identify friendly and enemy armor before firing. In addition, the simulated Saber system featured two simulated TOW missiles to allow Marines to practice loading the weapon after each shot.

Despite the lack of live missiles, the platoon made their time with the simulator a very mutually rewarding experience between the machine gunners and anti-tank missile men.

“You always learn something new when you do this because you can always be better,” said Lance Cpl. Shaun McNeal, an anti-tank missile man with the platoon. “It also helps build proficiency and camaraderie (within) the platoon, and closes the gap between junior Marines and more experienced ones.”