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Marines, bring the big guns: 1/10, train to suppress enemy targets

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Kaitlyn Klein | February 24, 2015

Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, hooked an M777-A2 howitzer to a CH-53E Super Stallion during a training exercise aboard Training Landing Zone Hawk before making a movement to TLZ Dodo and conducting a live-fire exercise, Feb. 19, 2015.

1st Battalion, 10th Marines' mission is to provide close and continuous artillery support to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force by destroying, neutralizing, or suppressing enemy targets that threaten the success of supported units.

The Marines trained to maintain readiness for situations in which they will be called upon to rapidly employ munitions in support of other Marine forces, said 2nd Lt. Sean Alexander, a fire directions officer with 1st Battalion.

To gain the full effect, Marines hooked a howitzer to the helicopter and flew with it to the next landing zone. Once on the ground they had the weapon prepped and ready to fire within minutes of arrival.

"We need to be able to move and set-up the howitzer in as little time possible in order to engage enemy targets in support of our fellow Marines," said Alexander. "This is a type of training that could be used anywhere around the world. At any time during a deployment, a unit may need support in order to complete their mission. The success or failure of a mission could come down to if we accurately and effectively get that support there on time."

Mock exercises are frequently conducted, but this live-fire training exercise was different, because it tested the Marines on the whole process while being expedient, said Cpl. Dakota Carter, a field artillery cannoneer with the battalion.

"We do a lot of artillery shoots, but nothing like this," said Carter.

"This is taking what the Marines practice, coming out with helicopters and the howitzer, and getting the mission done."

The Marines conducted this training in support of future operations, preparing themselves for any mission that requires their quick-thinking and maneuverability in the future, said Alexander. Conducting this live-fire exercise allows the battalion to see what areas need improvement before the next mission.

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