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Sergeant John Matthieu, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System operator with Battery Q, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, inspects his HIMARS before a live-fire exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 22, 2014. Conducting live-fire exercises strengthens the Marines’ ability to fire effectively in future operations.

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Murray

5/11 Marines Deliver Long-Range Destruction

10 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Joshua Murray 1st Marine Division

Marines with Battery Q, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division conducted a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System live-fire exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 22, 2014.

The HIMARS is a rocket system designed to fire multiple rockets from long range with deadly precision.

During the exercise, Marines were required to wear their personal protective equipment and stay at least 400 meters away from the weapon system at all times once a fire mission was given to uphold the high safety standards set by I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Master Sgt. Alex Ng, the battery field artillery chief with Battery Q, 5/11, said the precision of the weapon system makes them a very valuable asset to the Marine Corps.

“These trucks have the ability to fire over 100 miles and hit within approximately 15 meters of a target,” said Ng. “We are in control of the most accurate way to ensure any one of our high value targets or positions of interest are destroyed effectively.”

While in Afghanistan, 5/11 Marines used HIMARS to effectively destroy multiple weapon caches and enemy strong points.

Conducting live-fire training exercises allows the Marines to fire rockets in a controlled environment aboard Camp Pendleton to maintain and strengthen their skills to ultimately increase operational effectiveness in combat.

Sergeant Caleb Staats, a launcher chief with Battery Q, says conducting dry-fire exercises and live-fire exercises are an essential part of being as tactically proficient as possible when deployed.

“Firing a rocket is a very exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience,” said Staats. “If we don’t keep doing training exercises and running through the procedures regularly Marines can forget how it feels when you actually fire, causing them to be disoriented when it comes time to do what we are tasked to do in combat.”

The Marines of Battery Q are prepared to deploy anywhere in the world anytime they are requested, said Ng.

“I have had nothing but good experiences with the Marines of Quebec Battery,” said Ng. “They go above and beyond to ensure they are the best in their area of expertise and they are always ready to bring the fight to the enemy if they are called upon. I’m proud to say I work alongside them.”

1st Marine Division