MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif -- Marines from 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment participated in a regimental fire exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug 18-26, 2014.
The 11th Marine Regiment uses the summer fire exercise in preparation for upcoming combined arms exercises and potential combat operations abroad.
The exercise included loading internally transportable vehicles and mortars on the MV-22 Osprey, live fire from M777 A2 Lightweight Howitzer cannons and external lifts.
“We are rehearsing our concept of operations to support 1st Marine Division,” said Col. Christopher A. Tavuchis, commanding officer, 11th Marine Regiment. “We are giving our teams practice working together after our summer rotation, while executing fire plans, counter fire and prosecuting targets.”
The exercise allows all supporting units to become comfortable working together. The training brings together cannoneers, ammunition handlers, motor transport operators, Navy hospital corpsmen and communications specialists.
“We are doing a lot of stuff we don’t usually do,” said Cpl. John Guevara, artillery cannoneer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, from Fontana, Calif. “We are firing some charges not normally shot in Camp Pendleton and conducting a helicopter lift that not many of my Marines have been a part of yet.”
After touching up on cannon fire procedures, artillery Marines received an opportunity to train with Ospreys from Marine Aircraft Group 16 and assisted in the performance of external lifts and transport of the M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer cannon.
The lift helped Marines grow more comfortable with working with aviation assets and prepared them for quick response situations that require new cannon placement.
An external lift consists of an aircraft hovering above the cannon as a landing support team connects cables from underneath the aircraft to the cannon. It then ascends, carrying the weapon to another location.
Mortar platoons from 11th Marine Regiment further expanded their abilities by learning to load expeditionary fire support systems consisting of a 120mm mortar, ammo trailer and two vehicles on the aircraft as well.
“This is what these Marines train to do,” said Tavuchis. “There is no more important thing for us than to train these Marines for combat.”