TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Approximately 25 Marines with Motor Transportation Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, participated in a machine gun training exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 9, 2013.
The Marines participated in exercises with mounted and dismounted weapons, such as the MK19 automatic grenade launcher, the .50 caliber machine gun and the M240B medium machine gun, engaging targets at unknown distances.
“These are the weapons we are going to be deploying with,” said Sgt. Justin Rivera, squad leader with Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “We train with them so that when [we leave for deployment], we know that we’re ready.”
Other companies from CLB-5, such as Headquarters and Support Company, also performed the training exercise. It was conducted as part of training during Exercise Steel Knight 2014, an annual exercise designed to prepare the 1st Marine Division for deployment with the Marine Air-Ground Task Force as the Ground Combat Element with the support of 1st MLG and 3rd Marine Air Wing. Combined, the MAGTF is able to deploy and respond in a timely manner to any situation across the globe.
“We’re training to sustain basic machine gun skills for logistics Marines,” said 1st Lt. Ryan L. Miller, range officer-in-charge, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “This type of training is critical for protecting our supply convoys and for ensuring our forward units, such as the 1st Marine Division, are able to sustain their momentum.”
Training with machine guns is important for logistics Marines in an expeditionary environment because they must be able to protect supply convoys supporting forward ground combat units. Ground supply convoys are at risk from improvised explosive devices and ambushes in addition to harsh terrain and weather conditions they might operate in. Logistics Marines must always prepare for the worst.
Subject matter experts issued approximately 100 rounds per weapon to each Marine, instructed them on each weapon’s operations and maintenance and tested them on all operating procedures prior to the course of fire. They were also instructed on appropriate escalation of force to ensure proper protocol is being followed.
“There’s a lot of differences between the weapons, and the Marines need to ensure they use the appropriate weapons for the environment,” said Miller. “The MK19 is an area-of-fire weapon; so there is a possibility of collateral damage, whereas the other two weapons are point-target weapons.”
Overall, the training provided Marines with weapons sustainment training, ensures they are confident in their skills and ready to support exercises like Steel Knight and other operational deployments.