MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Explosions shook the valley as the Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, put mortars on target from hundreds of yards away.
The unit, nicknamed “War Dogs,” traveled from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., to conduct a live mortar fire exercise on the different types of terrain the base has to offer here April 4, 2014.
“The purpose of this training is to refine those skills that we have learned over our time in the Marine Corps,” Lance Cpl. Trent Kreis, a mortar man with Weapons Co. “We are becoming more proficient on the guns that we use such as the 60 mm and the 81 mm.”
The exercise allowed the Marines to sharpen their skills on different mortar systems used in deployed scenarios, Kreis said.
The Marines had to judge distances for the targets and calculate the angles in order to land rounds on target while firing on foreign terrain with two types of mortar systems.
“The better Marines train and conduct themselves in a scenario like this, the better they will conduct themselves when the pressure is actually on and they need to get rounds down range,” said Cpl. Evan Bryant, a mortar man with Weapons Co. “The more practice you get in a controlled environment, the better you will be able to fire when a squad or a team of Marines needs suppressive fire during an operation.”
Practicing and honing their skills in a safe and practical environment is essential to the Marine’s success in the future, said Bryant, a native of Louisville, Ky.
The biggest challenge the Marines faced was adjusting and calculating for distance on challenging and unfamiliar terrain.
“Coming from Twentynine Palms makes firing out here a little more challenging,” said Kreis. “Out here, we have to take the valleys, rises and other obstacles into consideration before firing so we can get on target as quickly as possible.”
The Marines of Weapons Co. quickly overcame the challenges of firing in a new terrain and successfully put mortar fire on their targets. They continue to hone their craft on the mortar system, keep accurate and timely fire on target, and most importantly, support Marines on the battlefield who need the fire support. When the mortar teams come together, they’ll prove the “War Dogs” are a deadly force.