MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
After a shout of, “left, right, all clear,’” an ear-drum-shattering bang thunders through the tall trees of the base. Unfazed, two Marines step up for their turn to fire the Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon.
Second Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Marines trained on various infantry tactics March 20.
The training was part of an ongoing effort to refresh the battalion’s senior infantry Marines’ skills and develop the newer infantry Marines’ skills. The Marines also practiced land navigation and patrolling for the last few weeks.
Marines broke down into two groups. One group built battlefield diagrams out of pine needles and Kevlar helmets; the other half could be heard firing SMAWs.
In group one 2nd Lt. Richard W. Klinger, a training officer with the battalion, gave out a mock combat scenario for Marines to develop a tactical solution utilizing weapons such as the M203 grenade launcher and SMAW.
The Silver Spring, Md., native, Klinger asked his Marines, “Where are you going to position your team?” A junior Marine immediately stood and shared with the group his plan of attack for the combat scenario.
“Anyone see a potential problem with that?” Klinger asked the class. No one contested.
Klinger gave the students pointers and discussed the pros and cons of the Marine’s plan of attack.
“Here, they’re practicing being able to speak in front of their peers,” said Klinger. “(Mock scenarios) really cements the technique and tactical aspects of the SMAW and M203 that they have been learning.”
The booming of the SMAWs could not be ignored. Many Marines turned to see what was going on in group two when the class ended.
“Did you see that?” said a Marine in astonishment.
Sparks could be seen high in the air from the impact the SMAWs were making on their targets. Marines grabbed their ammunition two by two and cycled through for their turn to practice their firing skills with the rocket launcher.
Wearing a wide smile, one Marine stood out from the group and appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself.
“It’s an amazing feeling to fire it. It’s the most powerful hand weapon in the infantry. (Firing this) is not something that many get to feel,” said Lance Cpl. Gabriel A. Vualle, a rifleman with the battalion and North Augusta, S.C., native. “If you never see this weapon and you try and shoot it, more than likely you’re going to miss. A lot of people assume there is a lot of recoil. But it doesn’t have any at all.”