MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment supported 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment during the Integrated Training Exercise 1-14 in an artillery suppression exercise aboard the Combat Center Nov. 12 and 13, 2013.
The artillery unit, who arrived at the Combat Center last month, came from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., in order to enhance their war-fighting capabilities with field artillery.
Utilizing the vast training ranges unique to the base, 1/11 was able to successfully accomplish this task in conjunction with 3/5, also from MCB Camp Pendleton; and 1/8, from MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“In Camp Pendleton, we can’t do nearly as much as we can do here in terms of the size,” said 1st Lt. Michael Valdez, platoon commander, Battery C, 1/11. “For artillery, we need the space, and here we can fire the big rounds, go the long distances and check our timeliness and abilities to give the infantry the support they need.”
The training exercise emphasized cooperation between artillery batteries and infantry units, as well as the success it can bring to the battlefield.
“We’re trying to get back to our roots with mass fires,” said 1st Lt. Gerald F. Landholt III, commanding officer, HQ Battery, 1/11. “The important part for us is showing the Marines of 3/5 and 1/8 what we can do … how well we shoot with infantry battalions and supporting them through timeliness, accuracy, and flexibility with their intent is (a direct reflection) of how well they cooperate with artillery batteries during deployments.”
According to Landholt, the artillery batteries engaged targets through fire missions, making way for the infantry as they maneuvered through simulated, neutralized targets to assault their own objectives.
“In Camp Pendleton, our training is simulated,” Landholt said. “We have an impact area where the infantry can’t maneuver. Here, the infantry can maneuver right through the targets, and it adds a lot of realism to the training.”
The artillery batteries utilized M777 Howitzers to conduct fire missions, utilizing multiple types of rounds such as the 155mm M825 white phosphorous projectile, 155mm M795 high explosive projectile, and M485A2 illumination rounds, according to Valdez. The artillery crew Marines found a valuable opportunity to sharpen their proficiency as crewmen with the training exercise.
“This type of training really gives the in-depth aspects that aren’t normally present during our standard training evolutions,” said Cpl. Philip H. Buhler, cannon crew section chief, Battery I, 3/12. “It's an eye-opener for safety and (military occupational specialty) proficiency. Working with these units also allows these Marines to build a sense of pride and work toward sharpening their skills in this section.”
The training conducted allowed all levels of the battalion to enhance their specific roles in order to be mission-capable.
“Our Marines have been working hard and this training depends on them,” Landholt said. “Our success with this training exercise comes from all sections, from communications and fire direction control to the gun crews. They are instrumental in what we have accomplished.”
The unit is slated to return to Camp Pendleton later this month to engage in further training operations.