Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune -- Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division conduct mechanized mortar training aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 30, 2015.
During the training Marines with the 81mm mortar platoon moved to various locations, received a call-for-fire, then dismounted from their vehicles and set up their mortars.
“The training we did today was hip shoots in support of the battalion,” said Sgt. Christopher Anders, a section leader for the unit. “I am tasked with finding a spot to fire from, after receiving the call for fire, and then overseeing the firing once the Marines complete setting up.”
The Marines moved through the range paths throughout the base not knowing when the next call would come in, but were always ready to dismount and set up the mortars. Once a call came in the teams dismounted and quickly began working together in order to get the mortar ready to fire as soon as possible.
“We’ll set our gun positions, do a direction of fire and once we’re set up we are waiting for the call to fire in support of the unit,” said Anders.
During the training each mortar was led by a senior Marine who aided in the set-up of the mortar.
“Our goal as a unit is to get rounds out as fast as possible,” said Cpl. Josh Walker, a squad leader with the unit. “We do that by immediately setting up the mortars and getting rounds down range.”
A section contains multiple mortars with each gun consisting of a gunner, assistant gunner, squad leader, and ammo man. In this exercise the teams were also tasked with providing their own security as they set up the mortars.
“We used the classic method of crawl-walk-run during the training exercise,” said Walker. “The Marines picked up the ‘hip shooting’ training pretty quick and helped prepare us for the next operation.”
“We used this training as a tool to better support one of the companies or the battalion as a whole,” said Anders.