CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Instructors with the Division Combat Skills Center trained Marines from various units during a Machine Gunners Course aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 13-17, 2015.
“We have all four of the machine gun systems here,” said Cpl. Ryan Cyrus, an instructor with the DCSC. “We started off with the M249 squad automatic weapon light machine gun before moving to the M240B medium machine gun, the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun and the Mk-19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. It allows them to get familiar with the weapon systems as well as have a basic understanding for how to operate them.”
During the class, Marines were taught how to properly disassemble, reassemble, and maintain the weapons and were allowed to practice on the weapons individually in order to make the actions more familiar to themselves.
“When the Marines are in the School of Infantry, they have a lot of skills condensed into the time they have to train,” said Cyrus, a native of Elkhart, Indiana. “This training is focused solely on the weapons systems, which allows them to have a lot more time to go in depth and acquire more hands-on time with each of the systems.”
Cyrus explained that doing this training in the classroom first allowed the Marines participating in the class to gain a better familiarity with the weapons. By practicing first the students are able to be more comfortable performing the same actions during the live-fire portion of the course.
For the Marines in the class, the training served to provide a safe learning environment as well as teach the skills necessary to properly utilize the weapons, said Lance Cpl. Alexander Vaughn, a motor vehicle operator with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
“With my job we don’t handle these weapons often,” said Vaughn, a native of Nashville, Tennessee. “We are attending this course to keep our knowledge fresh and make sure we know what we are doing in case we ever need to use one of the weapon systems down the road.”