Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Marines with Battery Q, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, conducted their first launch of the M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System at the Prospect Training Area, March 11.
The battery was originally deactivated as a cannon battery and reactivated last year as a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System battery.
“When I heard that Quebec was being activated, I was excited,” said Cpl. Andrew Robold, launcher chief, Battery Q, 5/11. “A new opportunity to train Marines and make history.”
That is what Robold did. He was the first Marine in Battery Q to fire the GMLRS and is now part of the battery’s history.
“I’m excited to be part of Quebec’s history and that’s something I’ll never forget,” Robold said.
The battery is currently at the Combat Center in support of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conducting the Integrated Training Exercise, the Marine Corps premiere predeployment training.
This has provided Battery Q with an opportunity to spread a little light on what the M142 HIMARS provides to the artillery Marines and their infantry counterparts said Capt. Dominic Daly, battery commander, Battery Q, 5/11. “It can educate them on the process and their expectations of what they could provide us and what we can do to help them in the fight.”
“We provide a deep strike capability,” Daly added. “A specific tool for shaping the combat environment that goes a little deeper than cannon artillery.”
The HIMARS’ high-mobility capabilities allow it to traverse rough terrain and emplace and displace quickly. It can also shoot significantly greater distances than the M777 Howitzer with greater accuracy.
“Cannon artillery gives accuracy, but this gives a precision strike with minimal collateral damage and a pretty fast turnaround when the requesting unit calls for us,” Daly said.
Even with its greater distance and accuracy, calculating the data to fire the HIMARS is not any more difficult than a cannon, according to Staff Sgt. Jaime Olguin, operations chief, fire direction control, Battery Q, 5/11.
“It’s a precision-target weapon, so whatever target you give us is the grid, it’s going to hit,” Olguin said.
However, because of the system’s far range, they must calculate its elevation and flight time to avoid interference with air wing units.
Their training at the Combat Center with 2/8 and 3/3 has better prepared Battery Q for their deployment to Afghanistan. The battery is scheduled to deploy later this year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for the first time as a HIMARS battery.