MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJUENE N.C. --
Approximately 93 rockets were fired by Marines from 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, over the course of their recent deployment to Afghanistan.
Their weapons were finally given a rest Aug. 7, 2011, when their deployment came to an end aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. A majority of the unit’s rockets were shot from Camp Leatherneck to support Reconnaissance units. 2/14 estimated 60 rockets were fired for Reconnaissance units alone.
“Every time we fired, the fighting ceased,” said 1st Lt. Pence D. Slaymaker, platoon commander, Battery F, 2/14, proudly. “We never missed. If we didn’t kill them, they didn’t hang around to ask questions.”
2/14 used the high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) in Iraq, 2011. Using the same weaponry, the battalion is now making an impact in Afghanistan in more ways than one. “We made the enemy change their movements,” said Slaymaker.
“When they would sit still we’d shoot them.” The precision and range of the rocket system allowed the Marines to shoot from great distances. Although they were not attacking the enemy forces head on, 2/14 felt proud of their supporting fire power. “We were pretty far away, but it felt good knowing we could fire timely and accurately to those who need the support,” said Sgt. Clifton D. Allred, section chief, Battery R, 2/14.
As Marines from the battalion picked up their bags and returned their rifles, many walked with a confident swagger in their step. It could be the pride they get from being a Marine or from defending freedom, but probably a bit both.
“It was as expected, a good experience,” said Lance Cpl. Jesse D. Cunningham, a supply chief, Battery K, 2/14, and Marine of the quarter. “My personal highlight was winning Marine of the quarter, but I felt good about the unit shooting a lot of rockets. I felt like we saw results.”
After their long journey home, many Marines said they knew exactly what their next mission was – spending time with family.