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Marines with Battery K, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, prepare an M777A2 Howitzer to fire in the Acorn Training Area aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 2, 2016, during the regiment’s “Top Gun” competition. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Levi Schultz

11th Marines ‘Top Gun’ blasts through competition

12 Dec 2016 | Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Knowledge, speed and accuracy; every gun crew in 11th Marine Regiment put these talents to the test to attain the title of “Top Gun” in the regiment during the annual Top Gun Competition aboard the Combat Center, Dec. 3, 2016.

11th Marines evaluated each battalion, battery and gun crew on the standards set forth by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in Navy Marine Corps 3500.7 Artillery Training and Readiness Manual. The tests varied from the crew’s ability to effectively and expediently emplace their howitzers to the fire direction center’s ability to relay information to the gun line.

“They’ve given us a checklist to grade both the gun line and the fire direction center on the different training and readiness standards for artillery,” said 2nd Lt. Cramer Sampson, fire direction officer, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. “It’s good camaraderie building and competition within the regiment.”

Top Gun is a way that each battery’s command can show off their Marines while continuing to train to the standard set for artillery. The winner will be announced once scoring has been completed.

“It’s sort of an ego booster to see who is the best gun in the regiment, said Cpl. George Ashmen, field artillery cannoneer, Battery K, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. “Everyone likes to have bragging rights. I always look forward to seeing all the guys really step up to meet the challenge.”

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