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Lance Cpl. Brandon Lee [front] a machine gunner with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, lays down suppressive fire with his M240G while Lance Cpl. Tyler Connor, a team leader with Co. I, 3/3, directs the machine gun bursts during a platoon size attack at the Combat Center’s Range 410A Sept. 7, 2011.

Photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

‘America’s Battalion’ fires away

9 Sep 2011 | Cpl. William J. Jackson

Communication is key, but it’s even harder when the sounds of suppressing machinegun fire, M-16’s and shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons echo throughout the Combat Center’s Range 410A Sept. 7, 2011.

Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, employed a variety of weapons systems during their platoon-size attack. Company I cleared trenches, conducted tactical sight exploitations and suppressed an onslaught of enemy advances at Range 410A, all for their upcoming company-sized training event.

“We’re doing our platoon maneuvers in preparation for our main event,” said 1stSgt Robert Rice, the Co. I first sergeant. “It’s just the basic fundamentals as a platoon. We’re meeting our objective of preparedness for the company live-fire and maneuver.”

Lance Cpl. Michael Barboza, an assault squad leader with Co. I, 3/3, said it’s not just about the weapons systems.

“Personally,” said the Traverse City, Mich., native, “its just training my new guys, getting them comfortable shooting the SMAW and getting them comfortable with moving while there is [suppressive fire]. I’m just trying to get my new guys up to speed.”

The machinegun chatter on top of Machinegun Hill kept the enemy at bay while Marines in the trenches cleared the way.

“This helps coordinate our guns,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Connor, a team leader with Co. I, 3/3, while scanning the area for a counter attack. “It’s also good training for the advancement of the riflemen.”

“Like every unit there’s going to be parts where we need to work on but we manage,” added Lance Cpl. Brandon Lee, a machine gunner with Co. I, 3/3 and a native of Cottonwood, Ariz.

Company I hit the range with four platoons. The platoons continued to work on their communication through the exercise building on their efforts for CHB-2.

 “The whole objective is go up with numerous types of fires to the final objective, said Rice. “It’s the final preparation for Saturday’s evolution. They’re getting the basic fundamentals [of working as a platoon.]”

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