MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- When 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion attacks the battlefield, they bring unique capabilities. From anti-armor firepower to supporting infantrymen, they are a self-sustaining unit that can deliver a destructive blow to an enemy force.
Marines serving with Alpha Company, 1st LAR, performed a live- fire range in order to cross train riflemen serving with the battalion on how to operate and maintain the light armored vehicles’ weapons systems here, Aug. 20.
“We are really focusing on helping out the infantry Marines train with the LAV-25,” said Staff Sgt. Dathan Byrd, a platoon sergeant serving with Alpha Company, 1st LAR. “We are really versatile in a sense that we can have numerous types of weapons systems on the LAV platform.”
The riflemen with 1st LAR serve as scouts for the battalion, provide close-combat support and perform reconnaissance missions.
“We can rapidly deploy from the LAVs if they need us to eliminate an enemy threat,” said Cpl. Anthony Capra, a scout serving with Alpha Company, 1st LAR. “We can also dismount and perform a recon mission or set up an observation post to alert the vehicles of an enemy position. We rely on them for transportation and for fire support, and they rely on us because we play a large role in the ground combat element for them.”
The scouts were given the ability to fire the M242 Bushmaster chain gun, the M240 machine gun and the anti-tank guided missile – the arsenal of the LAV-25 and the LAV-AT
“It’s important for us to not only know the basics of these weapons systems but to be completely confident when we get them in our hands,” said Capra, a native of Overbrook, Kan. “We will never know when one of the LAV crewman could go down and they need one of us scouts to step up and take control of the turret or man the M240.”
First LAR not only brings riflemen to the fight, but also a combination of infantry including mortarmen, assaultmen and anti-tank misslemen.
“First LAR is really a self-sustaining force. We have the capability to overcome almost every situation on the battlefield,” said Byrd, a native of Hamilton, Bermuda. “But having all these capabilities means we must be able to perform other roles and not just one single position, which is where ranges like this become so essential to our job performance.”
The scouts proficiency with the weapons systems improved throughout the duration of the range, increasing their confidence for future combat operations, Byrd said.