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Marines with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, fire a Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon during training aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 21, 2013. The Marines from 7th ESB trained with the weapons system alongside their brethren from the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Shaltiel Dominguez

7th ESB engineers train with SMAWs alongside 1st CEB

22 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Shaltiel Dominguez

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – “Rocket! Rocket! Rocket!” shouted the Marine as his partner squeezed the trigger. The area was engulfed in smoke as a high-explosive round fired out of the Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon and impacted into a steel target resulting in a deafening explosion.

The two Marines were part of the 75 combat engineers with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, and 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, who conducted training with SMAWs aboard Camp Pendleton Calif., Aug. 21, 2013.

Fifty rockets were used during the training along with tracers, providing the combat engineers with another breaching tool to add to their arsenal.

“Most of [the Marines] have never shot a SMAW before, so to get that experience and feeling of using one of the most powerful weapons the Marine Corps has is just an excellent opportunity,” said 1st Lt. Byron Patton, officer-in-charge, bravo company, 7th ESB.

Furthermore, the training also encouraged teamwork and cooperation between the engineers of 7th ESB and their brethren from 1st CEB.

“In any combat scenario, it’s never going to be one unit operating by themselves,” said Patton, a native of Central Lake, Mich. “You’re going to be consistently coordinating and communicating across different units. Any practice we get doing that is pretty vital to being prepared.”

Interacting with 1st CEB also allowed combat engineers from 7th ESB a chance to exchange knowledge and techniques.

“When you come together and combine, you can learn [different things from different people],” said Staff Sgt. Michael Goodman, range safety officer with 7th ESB.

The training was conducted fluidly, with instructors providing a class about the proper use and remedial action for the SMAW and allowing for each individual Marine to train with the weapons system.

For some Marines, the simplest things about the exercise were also the most memorable.

“When I pulled the trigger, the rush, the heat, the rocket going off and seeing it go down range, that was probably the best part,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan Nicholas Hornack, a combat engineer with 7th ESB.

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