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Marauders hone combat skills

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200541301023
Story by Capt. Russ Norris

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan (April 13, 2005) -- The Marines and sailors of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 hit the dirt recently for weapons familiarization and tactical emplacement classes.

The Maruaders are an aviation support element consisting of 673 service members representing 72 aviation and ground military occupational specialties.

In an effort to reinforce and maintain the spirit of “every Marine is a rifleman first”, Master Sgt. Thomas Poston, MALS-12 operations chief, led more than 270 aviation logisticians through classes on weapon characteristics, employment, emplacement and how to produce accurate range cards.

The round-robin style training event allowed the Marauders to assemble, sight, dry-fire, and disassemble the M249, M240G, M2 .50 cal. and the MK19 weapons.

Recently, the Marauders have sent numerous service members to fill individual augment billets in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Feedback from aviation Marines deployed to these combat zones serves as a reality check for those currently serving in rear operations. Once on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, and put into a convoy or on a post, that’s not the time to relearn how to load the .50 cal. or clear the MK19.

Poston, the only infantryman assigned to the squadron, seizes every opportunity to increase the survivability of his Marines in combat.

“Really, if you think about it, the air wing has twice the load when compared to Marine infantryman,” said Poston. “The infantryman focus is on combat and all training is geared around that element. As for that air wing Marine, he must not only have that role of keeping the aircraft flying in support, but at the same time, provide security for his or her operational area.”

Poston said this training is important because it keeps the Marine or sailor in tune with the combat side. This is the side that makes a fighter comfortable when their tool changes from a wrench to a crew-served weapon, this is the side that brings the Marines and sailors home in war.

The entire evolution took place over three days and provided the Marines and sailors with the basic tools to build on in the upcoming months.

Sergeant Hilda Amador, MALS-12 maintenance administration specialist, assisted other Marauders in understanding the Traversing and Elevation mechanism on the “Ma Duce”.

“Sometimes we lose sight of what Marines really do,” said Amador. “We are Marines who train to kill and win battles.”

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