MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines with Battery A, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment began their Integrated Training Exercise in conjunction with Battery T, 5th Battalion, 11th Marines; Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines; and 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines aboard the Combat Center Sept. 24, 2013.
Artillery batteries provided precision fire during a simulated assault in which 2/3 made advancement toward an objective.
“This is an opportunity for us to work with the infantry,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Stradley, platoon commander, Battery F, 2/11. “As an artillery battery we support them in reaching their objective.”
The Marines with 2/3 called upon the artillery batteries for fire. Once an area had been cleared, the battalion advanced.
One battery fired rounds downrange while the others changed position. With this, they were able to keep up with 2/3 as the battalion pushed downrange.
“It’s comparable to the buddy rush system infantry Marines use,” Stradley said. “We are able to utilize it with our cannons alongside other batteries.”
The two weapon systems utilized during the exercise were the M777 Howitzer and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
“The HIMAR is a great weapon system that minimizes collateral damage,” said Sgt. Kevin Toledo, launch chief, Battery T, 5/11. “This exercise is drastically changing the Marines by building unit cohesion and fine tuning their skills with it.”
According to Toledo, the HIMAR is operated by one launch chief, one driver and one gunner. The Marines utilized M28A2 rockets that were capable of firing anywhere from 8 to 15 kilometers.
“It takes about seven Marines to operate the Howitzer,” said Sgt. Ivan Karamyev, section chief, Battery F, 2/11. “The rounds fired today were well in excess of 100 pounds.”
Elsewhere, 1/12 led the assault with their own artillery, working with the other batteries to coordinate fire support.
“This is the pinnacle of what we came here to do after a number of other assault exercises the past three weeks,” said Sgt. Shamar Jackson, section chief, Battery A, 1/12. “Two other fire batteries and an entire battalion partook in an assault.”
For Battery A, this exercise was major build-up for an upcoming deployment to Okinawa, Japan, in December.
“Out here we learned a lot of good stuff that we couldn’t do in Hawaii,” Jackson said. “We were on the offensive to capture the objective, and we got it.”
The exercise proved to be a success for all units involved.
“This is a very old relationship we’re maintaining,” Stradley said. “All militaries have always had an artillery force to support them in battle.”