The sound of machine guns echo through the Central Training Area as smoke billows from their hot barrels and spent brass casings litter the ground.
This was the scene as Marines with Company A, 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF employed several weapons systems during a live-fire training exercise at the CTA near Camp Hansen Nov. 28.
The exercise included three phases of fire using the .50-caliber Browning machine gun, M240B medium machine gun and the M249 light machine gun.
“The goal of the training was to familiarize the Marines with multiple weapons systems, attain efficient combat readiness through confidence in the systems and enhance proficiency,” said 1st Lt. Norman M. Vigil, a platoon commander with the company.
Marines learn and retain more during hands-on training, according to Gunnery Sgt. Jason S. Auger, the operations chief with the company.
“They learn more out here, compared to sitting in the classroom,” said Auger. “The Marines had great instructors to help guide them and make them more confident when firing on the range.”
The instructors emphasized the importance of controlling a weapon, rather than the weapon controlling them.
“We had the Marines demonstrate how to properly execute immediate and remedial action in case of a stoppage, and we made sure the Marines knew all the weapon conditions,” said Auger.
For some Marines, it was the first time they had fired a machine gun.
“It was an amazing experience, not only to refresh our skills, but to feel the power behind them,” said Lance Cpl. Kiri R. Gibson, a military policeman with the company. “The live-fire exercise not only helped me become proficient with the weapon systems, but helped me build confidence as well.”
Marines enjoyed the live-fire training experience and have reinforced the basic fundamental that every Marine is a rifleman, according to Vigil.
“During combat situations, Marines have to take action and make decisions based on their training,” said Vigil. “Training is key to success in every area as a Marine.”
Article by Lance Cpl. Jose D. Lujano, Marine Corps Installations Pacific