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Combat engineers train with Marine Corps’ big guns

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Every Marine is trained as a rifleman. Some Marines, however, were lucky enough to take their weapons training to the next level with the Corps’ big guns Sept. 18-19 at Camp Schwab.

Combat engineers with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, trained with the M249 squad automatic weapon, M240B medium machine gun, MK19 40 mm grenade launcher, .50–caliber Browning machine gun and the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon to gain experience with the different weapon systems.

“Our motto is that we lead the way,” said Cpl. Cole T. Passick, a combat engineer with the battalion. “It’s important that our Marines get trigger time on the different weapon systems to keep them operationally ready for the future.”

Prior to firing each weapon system, the Marines were given a period of instruction on assembling, loading, unloading and firing.
“A lot of us don’t get the opportunity to shoot the different weapon systems we shot over the two-day period,” said Lance Cpl. Adam C. Milliren, a combat engineer with the battalion. “The hands-on experience that we received on the weapons proved much more important to our mission than just learning about them at the armory.”

Combat engineers serve a variety of functions when deployed and in garrison, including vertical construction, general engineering, bridge building, construction of double-apron fences and wire obstacles, demolitions, route and area clearance, and mine sweeping.

Weapons training for combat engineers is vital because often times they must provide their own security in order to be self-sufficient, according to Staff Sgt. William E. Satterfield, a combat engineer with the battalion.

“As combat engineers, we are deployable at the division, wing, and group level,” said Satterfield. “That is why it is important we train like this to better prepare us for the future.”

As the Marines packed their gear and prepared to depart the range, another group of Marines with the battalion took its place to start a weeklong demolitions training event, reinforcing 9th ESB’s continued dedication to combat readiness in all its functional areas.

Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock, III MEF