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Artillery Marines conduct pre-deployment training

15 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Eugenio Montanez

Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment participated in a battalion fires exercise to enhance their skills here Apr. 6-10.

The training exercise consisted of firing missions, locating targets, coordinating illumination and a battalion mass shoot.

“The focus for this operation is to exercise the timeliness, correct procedure and rehearsal for the Marines that are manning the guns because it is not as simple as it seems,” said Maj. Luis Vazquez, 37, the operations officer with Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 11th Marines, from New York City.

In this training, the Marines practice their jobs to learn how to support infantrymen in any operation they conduct.

“This training will give the Marines efficiency to enhance what they learned at their schoolhouse to properly support our infantry brothers on the ground,” said Vazquez. “(It) will allow them to understand the proper procedures when (combat) does occur.”

The training helped the Marines to learn their mission and how to accomplish it.

“I (learned to be) more efficient in what I have to do and what I need to accomplish in the last couple of days I’ve trained here,” said Cpl. Blake H. Tibbitts, 20, a supply clerk with Headquarters Battery, from Nederland, Texas.

What the Marines learned at the training exercise will be passed on to other Marines.

“I have developed leadership in this training and that helps me step up to where I need to be at, to be able to teach my Marines more efficiently,” said Cpl. Jonathan A. Castro, 19, a field radio operator with Headquarters Battery, from Bellevue, Neb.

On the shooting range, Marines switched duties to make sure that each Marine is proficient in all the areas of shooting.

“The intent for when we finish this training is to have a competent and full-rounded artillery unit,” said Vazquez.

Upon completing the training, the Marines felt proud of what they had accomplished as a team.

“In artillery, we consider ourselves special, in a sense that any Marine that is assigned to an artillery battalion is an artillery Marine,” said Vazquez. “Our communicators and our mechanics are all considered artillery Marines. It’s a well-oiled machine and we have to rely on every Marine to make it successful.”