7/10/2013 -- CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines with Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a live-fire, field training exercise at San Clemente Island, Calif., June 27, 2013.
The exercise gave the Marines the opportunity to familiarize themselves with M249 squad automatic weapons, should they have to engage targets aboard a boat during bridging operations in future deployments.
Firing weapons from a moving platform can pose different challenges, so this training also provided them with the knowledge needed to fix the weapons quickly in case of any malfunctions.
“This is the first time the Marines have gotten to fire a live weapon system at a target from a moving boat,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony Molnar, operations platoon commander, Bridge Company, 7th ESB, 1st MLG. “Watching the Marines out there getting to do what we’ve been training for was a pleasure for me.”
Marines with Bridge Co. have limited experience firing the M249 SAW from a boat. The training exercise was designed to enhance the company’s ability to employ crew-served weapons from a moving platform.
“It’s something new for me,” said Cpl. Michael J. Mangan, a combat engineer with Bridge Co., 7ESB, 1st MLG. “I’ve never shot at a target off a boat before. It was a lot of fun.”
Throughout the course of the training evolution, Marines expended more than 6,000 rounds from four M249 SAWs. Each Marine was able to fire in a secure environment at the Shore Bombardment Area Range.
“It was good training (for the Marines) to be exposed to an environment on the open water,” said Mangan. “They got a lot of experience firing the weapon systems at targets from a considerable range.”
The live-fire, hands-on portion of the exercise increased the Marines combat readiness and better prepared them for future deployments.
Molnar said he was pleased with the Marine’s performance on the range and hopes this will eventually become an annual training exercise. He added that the training also gave new Marines a chance to hone their weapons skills.
“We’ve been planning this for the past six months, and now we finally got to execute it,” said Molnar. “I’m glad I got to see them get rewarded for all of their hard work and effort.”