U.S. ARMY BASE FORT A.P. HILL, Va --
Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion-24 completed a three-day basic machine gunners course, gaining valuable experience firing some of the Marine Corps’ most deadly weapons, here July 30 through Aug 1.
Marines fired the M240G Machine Gun, the MK 19 Grenade Launcher and the M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun, an uncommon opportunity for some Marines with non-infantry jobs.
Before firing, Marines received classes on everything from disassembling the weapons to the maximum cyclic rate and distance they can fire.
Marines from various Military Occupational Specialties attended this course, garnering a better understanding of these weapons, even though they may not use them regularly as part of their jobs.
“I think this machine gun training is important for all Marines regardless of their MOS because you never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation when you need to get in a turret, man that gun and send rounds down range,” said 2nd Lt. Michael N. Doss, supply officer, Headquarters and Support Company, BLT 1/9, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “This training gets them more familiar with the weapons.”
One of the most important things a Marine can gains during training is confidence.
“Getting behind these weapons and getting the training and experience of successfully operating weapons such as a M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun definitely gives the Marines confidence, not only while using these weapons, but in other tasks that may come to them in the future,” Doss, an Onely, Md. native.
For some Marines this was the first time they ever fired some of these weapons, for others this training was far more intense than any previous training.
“I had a great time, we learned a lot of new things about the weapons and I got to shoot the M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun for the first time, I’m really glad I got to get behind that gun,” exclaimed Pfc. Ricardo L. Tomas, supply clerk, CLB-24, 24th MEU.
At the end of the course, Marines walked away better marksman and more confident, not just in their ability to fire one of these weapons, but to handle any situation they may encounter.
“After the three days of training, I’d have to say it went very well, we had a few hiccups but overall it was good,” said Doss. “The Marines did an outstanding job. They all wanted to shoot and were very motivated. I was happy to be a part of the development of these Marines.”