Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
STANDBY…FIRE! Yelled Marines with Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, as rounds were shot down range at targets during training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 15-17, 2011.
The exercise consisted of three 155mm howitzers, which were assigned missions to shoot rounds at certain coordinates until the completion of the objective.
The Marines go to training shoots like this at least two times a month to prepare them for combat.
“This is our first shoot since returning from our recent deployment, and I think we were well prepared and the Marines performed very well,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kihelee J. Trody, the units’ battery gunnery sergeant. “This is what we get paid for, and what we live for is to perform our job to the best of our ability, and I think we did that at this exercise with only a few things to work on.”
The Marines shot numerous rounds and were given various mission scenarios using different types of rounds and coordinates they needed to fire at. This put everyone’s ability to the test, and with minimal mistakes they loaded and prepped the guns to fire properly.
“There were only small things that I noticed that needed to get improved on, but there is always room for improvement,” said Sgt. Brent M. Howard, section chief with gun three. “I think training like this is very important because it gets you in the groove of things for when you deploy, and even though we just got back, my Marines are ready to go and know how to function together.”
The Marines were given the order “fire mission” over a radio, and told how many rounds and the coordinates. Then the Marines would load a single 90 pound round onto a tray, and two Marines would shove the round into the chamber.
Then a gun powder charge was loaded behind the round, the breach was shut, and the gun was ready to fire the round up to 25 miles.
The section chief then yells out “standby”, he pauses, yells “fire” and then BOOM! The round is on its way to impact with the target.
“I really enjoy training my Marines on how to be well rounded at their jobs,” said Trody. “I want to continue to teach them everything I know until they surpass me one day and are better than I am at this job.”