CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. —
1st Marine Division units conducted a series of training events in recent weeks to increase small unit lethality and versatility, with an emphasis on innovative weapon systems, warfighting concepts, and training programs.
1st Marine Division Marines and Sailors took part in a week-long multipurpose anti-armor anti-personnel weapon system program, as well as a multi-day Designated Marksman range. Both training events provided experience and familiarity with weapon systems and tactics necessary to compete in hostile, fluid, and challenging environments.
“The 1st Marine Division exists to fight and win our Nation’s battles,” emphasized Major General Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, in his Commanding General’s Intent. “We must be brilliant in the basics of combined arms warfighting; techniques that have long made us feared by our enemies.”
“…Marines assigned as Designated Marksmen have learned the necessary skills, demonstrated confidence and sustained proficiency in the M110 and MK13 in order to provide precision fires in support of rifle company operations.”
Gunner Tyler Maisey, the senior weapons and tactics expert for 2nd Battalion
General Watson took command of the 20,000 Marines and Sailors in the historic Blue Diamond last summer. Immediately, the commanding general emphasized the division’s ability to provide the most lethal and ready forces capable to compete in any environment, at any time. Division units consistently train with the most modern weapons, tactics, and techniques.
Marines and Sailors with the 5th Marine Regiment took part in a week-long MAAWS training event, first learning about the capabilities of the weapon system, and then taking their instruction to the field to test and examine its destructive strength. The MAAWS, also known as the Carl Gustaf, provides infantry squads the ability to neutralize and even destroy enemy armor and light armor assets at greater distances compared to the SMAW, LAW, and AT-4. The MAAWS also allows combat engineer units to breach obstacles and establish footholds in challenging objectives.
“The MAAWs recoilless rifle and family of ammo provide the service a capability that makes efficient what multiple weapon systems currently do. The ability to obscure objectives, fire HE/HEAT, illumination, and smoke missions, at ranges further than an organic rifle platoon can do currently with multiple systems is a capability enhancement,” explained 1st Marine Division’s lead weapons and tactics expert, Gunner Ray Browne. “For Designated Marksmen, DM training will ensure the capability gap in the squad is more effectively filled to employ these enhanced marksmanship skills with precision weapon systems that IBX30 allocates to the squad.”
Marines and Sailors with the 7th Marine Regiment spent multiple days out in the desert of 29 Palms learning and developing long-range precision rifle techniques and procedures. The Designated Marksman program allows sharp-shooting Marines to perform precision fire tasks in support of ground combat maneuver. The Designated Marksman training focused on the M110 and the MK13 rifles, capable of precision engagements of around 800 and 1200 meters, respectively.
“2/7 will move the long guns to the rifle company ‘arms-room’ and train 0311s to employ the precision weapon systems,” provided Gunner Tyler Maisey, the senior weapons and tactics expert for 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. “Marines assigned as Designated Marksmen have learned the necessary skills, demonstrated confidence and sustained proficiency in the M110 and MK13 in order to provide precision fires in support of rifle company operations.”
MAAWS and Designated Marksman training are just two focus areas of the Infantry Battalion Experimentation 2030, or IBX30. One aspect of IBX30 is allowing infantry battalions, the bulk of 1st Marine Division units, to remain versatile in their capabilities through an arms-room concept. The arms-room concept allows infantry Marines to be well-trained with multiple weapon systems, instead of limiting them to one or two weapon systems at a time. Additional, ongoing training includes scout platoon integration, which will provide infantry battalions organic reconnaissance capabilities for distributed operations. The redundancy and versatility of our critical infantry community reinforce the highest levels of battlefield effectiveness and allow 1st Marine Division to provide any force or operation with significant lethality and the ability to win in any clime or place.
Capt Joseph DiPietro, 1st Marine Division
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