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Mortar Plt. trains for live-fire shoot

14 Mar 2004 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

In an effort to sharpen their basic mortarmen skills, Marines from 81 mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practiced moving and setting up on a range at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., March 13.

The drills allowed the Marines to get a feel for what they would be doing in a real-world situation. It also gave them the opportunity to set up standard operating procedures.

"We have a lot of new Marines," said SSgt. Gregory L. Griffin, platoon sergeant, 81 mm Mortar Platoon. "They need to practice the basics and learn what the platoon does as a whole."

During the drills, the Marines practiced receiving calls for mortar fire. Once the call was received, Marines in the fire direction control center began to work on the target data, while the mortarmen ran out and set up their mortar tubes as quickly as possible. Marines provided security armed with M-240G machine guns and M-16s.

"They are rehearsing this to go over procedures and get feedback for potential problems," said 2nd Lt. Troy T. Garlock, 81 mm Mortar Platoon, platoon commander. "This allows everyone to get on the same page."

These drills also pointed out areas in which the Marines needed to improve.

"Based off of this training, we need to work on our communications between the Marines, but we also need to work together as a well-oiled machine," said Griffin."

"Out here people make mistakes, but that is why we train, to correct those mistakes," said Cpl. Chris Lytln, mortarman, 81 mm Mortar Platoon.

Along with getting practice setting up their mortar tubes and plotting targets, this exercise allowed the Marines to train in an unfamiliar environment.

The Marines' training exercise will end with several days of live firing and a few other events to sharpen their basic skills before the unit heads back to Camp Lejeune.