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Marines send an 81mm mortar round downrange during an exercise designed to qualify forward observers at Range 106 Feb. 3, 2011.

Photo by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu

HQBN NCOs join 2/7 in mortars course

11 Feb 2011 | Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu

Noncommissioned officers from Headquarters Battalion joined with 81mm mortar platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, training at the Combat Center’s Range 106 Feb. 3, 2011.

The training was part of a series of exercises that HQBN has been participating in.

“We’re trying to get our Marines out for some kind of training every quarter,” said First Sgt. Nelson Hidalgo, first sergeant, Company B, HQBN.

The NCOs spent their day at Range 106 learning how mortar operations work, how to plot coordinates, to adjust mortar fire and the dropping of mortar rounds.

“We’re really excited to work with mortarmen out here,” said Sgt. Paul Charles, and electronics technician with G-6. “Being out here makes us feel like real Marines again.” Members of Weapons Co., 2/7, also performed forward observer exercises. The exercise helped qualify forward observers to serve in the field, and gave 81mm Mortars platoon time to instruct HQBN.

“I think it’s really important for all Marines, no matter what [Military occupational specialty], to get some cross training,” said 1st Lt. Rory Smith, 81mm mortars platoon commander.

The Marines said they appreciated the opportunity to try something different.

“It’s nice to know a little bit more about a different MOS outside the MOS that I work in everyday,” said Cpl. Brittany Molina, the orders non-commissioned officer in charge at Installation Personnel Administration Center.

It’s important for these Marines to get out of the office and see what the units that they are supporting are doing out in the field, Hidalgo said. “We want to give them the opportunity to see what it is that they are supporting.”

Headquarters Battalion plans on having more training exercises in the near future, Hidalgo said. "We’ll probably do one per quarter and take a different group out every time.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms