MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Most Marines know their rifle like the back of their hand. However, while working with foreign militaries overseas, they will encounter and need to be familiar with, other weapons systems.
The Advisor Training Group aboard the Combat Center teaches Marines and sailors headed to train forces overseas how to handle and operate foreign weapons, said Staff Sgt. Stuart Almon, the range safety officer for the exercise and a native of Durant, Okla.
The training gives them a basic understanding of weapons like the Singular Valve Decompression Rifle, Kalashnikov’s Machinegun-Modernized rifle and the AK-47, one of the easiest to use in the world, said Almon.
“We teach the same techniques as we would with our weapons.”
Almon said. First they basic combat zero the weapons, then run through a Combat Marksmanship Program shoot. They also fire the weapon in full auto from their shoulder to get a feel for what it’s like, because Marine Corps’ rifles don’t shoot in automatic, he said.
“It was kind of weird getting behind the RPK at first,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Mooney, a radar operator with Police Mentor Team 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. “I had to work to change my position because I’m used to a 240, but after I got settled it was a lot of fun to shoot it.”
Some of the more senior Marines, like Gunnery Sgt. Michael Stanton, a member of PMT 1st Bn., 10th Marines, confessed it was a great challenge to learn the new systems.
The Fall Brook, Iowa native has deployed four times working with bothe the Iraq and Afghan army, who had used many of the weapon systems taught throughout the shoot.
“Those guys used these weapons on patrol with us, but I’ve never bothered to learn more about weapons like the PKM.
Stanton said some concepts were easier to grasp than others.
“My father had a Kalashnikov when I was a kid,” he said. “I’ve messed with it a little before, so that wasn’t too hard for me today. The weapons like the SVD and PKM though are a lot different.
Armed with the new knowledge most Marines said they feel confident that they can use it effectively if the need arises during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the fall.