Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, 2nd Marine Division conducted annual gunnery qualification training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 20-25, 2018.
The training allowed Light Armored Vehicle crews to demonstrate their proficiency in using the M242 25-millimeter Bushmaster Automatic Canon and M240B machine gun while conducting four separate live-fire courses.
Each member of the crew was graded on maneuvers and accuracy while engaging various targets to include vehicle, moving and troop targets.
“We start out on tables three and four, which are our practice tables. Table five is pre-qualification and six is the qualification,” said Sgt. Charles Ridgway, the master gunner with 2nd LAR. “Qualification is a yearly graded event to maintain readiness for upcoming deployments.”
During the ranges, Marines conducted defensive, offensive and simultaneous engagements with a mixture of armored, unarmored and troop targets.
To maintain Marines’ readiness to fight in any situation, the unit incorporated Mission-Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear into their training, which is designed to protect them from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments.
“Marines fight in any clime and place,” said Cpl. Alexander Thompson, a vehicle commander with the unit. “We incorporate MOPP gear into our training, so we are ready for any hazards that may come at us in this world.”
In addition to improving their skill sets, LAR uses this training to continue strengthening unit and crew cohesion in order to become more effective teams.
“Crew cohesion is a huge part of LAR or anything that you do in the Marine Corps,” said Thompson. “Between the driver, gunner and vehicle commander, it’s important to work on fire commands and get a certain lingo down so that everyone can work together and operate the vehicle smoothly. We eat, sleep and train together to constantly work on building the best crew cohesion we can.”
The unit participates in various ranges throughout the year to continuously sharpen their skills and maintain expeditionary readiness.
“There’s no shortage of threats in the world,” said Ridgway. “Wherever we may go, we always need to be ready.”