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Cpl. Brent J. Thibodeaux (right), 21, a gunner from Kaplan, La., and Lance Cpl. Robert C. Lenfesty, 22, an ammunition specialist from Seattle, both with Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, prepare to fire a high-explosive mortar round during a shoot in western al-Anbar province, Iraq, Sept. 14. The Marines fired for approximately eight hours to ensure each company within the battalion had established their standard operating procedures for mortarmen.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

Light armored recon trains with mortars in Anbar

14 Sep 2008 | Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

The sound of thunder echoed through the desert as mortars impacted the ground here Sept. 14.

Marines with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, engaged in a mortar shoot to maintain weapons proficiency.

“The battalion decided to shoot to establish good target trajectory points and (to practice) standard operating procedures for future (operations),” said Lance Cpl. Robert C. Lenfesty, 22, a gunner with Delta Company, 2nd LAR Bn. “Once we get back to the States, we’ll be splitting up into independent companies and these skills (will be) needed.”

During the shoot, weapons platoons from each company took turns firing more than 30 high-explosive and illumination rounds from mounted and dismounted positions. The Marines from separate companies were able to work together to establish unit cohesion.

“Being able to see how the rest of the companies worked and getting back together with them as a battalion was good,” said Cpl. Thomas R. Ryhal, 24, an assistant gunner from Newcastle, Penn., with Delta Co. “It was rewarding to fire in succession and work together as a battalion.”

The Marines fired for approximately eight hours to ensure each company had established their standard operating procedures for mortarmen. As their deployment in Iraq comes to a conclusion, the battalion is already preparing for the next possible combat tour.

“It’s good to get back into the rhythm of mortars because during this deployment, we only shot illumination rounds for scouts on the ground,” said Lenfesty, 22, from Seattle. “The shoot was a good refresher on tactics if the battalion re-deploys and we are needed.”


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