TF Gladiator hammers targets with heavy guns and small arms

9 Jan 2003 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

The Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's (Special Operations Capable) Task Force Gladiator, which combines the Combined Anti-Armor Team and Light Armored Reconnaissance platoons from Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, is known for its ability to deliver a powerful punch to the enemy. And deliver a powerful punch is exactly what it did for two days during a live-fire exercise in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

During the two-day period TF Gladiator conducted several live-fire and maneuver shoots, along with refreshing its Marines' small arms weapons firing and grenade throwing skills.

The maneuver courses demonstrated CAAT and LAR's ability to use their vehicles and weapons to rain death upon enemy targets.
Gunners from CAAT blasted targets with their .50 caliber, MK-19 and M-240G machine guns as the drivers maneuvered their vehicles into deadly formations across the desert.

One highlight on the range was the Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided (TOW)  missile shoots.

"Our TOW gunners don't have the chance to fire their weapons very often," said 1st Sgt. Paul A. Berry, company first sergeant, Weapons Company. "We shoot four TOW missiles and had four hits. That is pretty impressive."

After CAAT took its turn shredding the targets down range, the Marines from LAR used the 25 mm guns on their Light Armored Vehicles to show demonstrate the firepower ability they really possess, by first conducting a maneuver range then a static shoot.

The range was filled with the sound of thunderous "thumps" as the 25 mm rounds destroyed targets across the horizon.

"The first day out here we ran through a course using the vehicles, but the second we conducted an administrative shoot to allow our gunners and (vehicle commanders) to get more practice with their guns," said 1st Lt. Michael Murray, LAR platoon commander. "We also fired our coaxial and pintle mounted guns."

After both platoons took their turns on the maneuver range, the Marines got out of their vehicles and conducted small arms shoots featuring the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, M-203 grenade launcher and the AT-4 anti-tank weapon. The Marines also had the chance to throw some grenades.

Finally after all the rounds had been spent and all grenades thrown, the Marines returned back their assembly area to conduct maintenance on their weapons and vehicles and prepare for their next evolution.