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  • 2018
Marines with 2/14 conduct a live-fire HIMARS raid

By Lance Cpl. Niles Lee, Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Marines from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, inspect a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) after being offloaded from an Air Force MC-130, on Fort Campbell, Ky., March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marines from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, inspect a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) after being offloaded from an Air Force MC-130, on Fort Campbell, Ky., March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Josh Monroe, a loadmaster from 9th Special Operations Squadron, loads a Marine Corps M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, into an Air Force MC-130 at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Air Force Staff Sgt. Josh Monroe, a loadmaster from 9th Special Operations Squadron, loads a Marine Corps M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, into an Air Force MC-130 at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, hooks missile pods to a hoist on an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, hooks missile pods to a hoist on an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Marines from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, ride in an Air Force MC-130 after a live-fire mission with a Marine Corps M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marines from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, ride in an Air Force MC-130 after a live-fire mission with a Marine Corps M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Marine Corps Sgt. Joshua Herod, communications chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, radios target coordinates to an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marine Corps Sgt. Joshua Herod, communications chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, radios target coordinates to an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, guides a hoist up on an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) after dropping off a missile pod, at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, guides a hoist up on an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) after dropping off a missile pod, at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell, Ky., to Dugway where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Lowe (right), a loadmaster with the 9th Special Operations Squadron, and Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale (left), a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, chain down a Marine Corps an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) onto an Air Force MC-130 at Fort Campbell, Ky., March 29, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Lowe (right), a loadmaster with the 9th Special Operations Squadron, and Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale (left), a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, chain down a Marine Corps an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) onto an Air Force MC-130 at Fort Campbell, Ky., March 29, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, directs a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) into position before being loaded onto an Air Force MC-130, on Fort Campbell, Ky., March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.
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Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, directs a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) into position before being loaded onto an Air Force MC-130, on Fort Campbell, Ky., March 30, 2018. Marines from Kilo Battery flew from Fort Campbell to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where they offloaded and fired four HIMARS missiles, demonstrating a unique capability that will give commanders more options to deal with threats when other options are not appropriate.

An Air Force MC-130 barrels through the dry, March air, in route to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. Aboard, Marines verifiy target coordinates for an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System chained down beside them.

An Air Force loadmaster from 9th Special Operations Squadron signals “ten minutes till wheels down,” as Marines from Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, operating the HIMARS begin to don their flaks and kevlars, Mar 30, 2018, above Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah.

The exercise began the day before at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where Marines and Airmen practiced loading a Marine Corps HIMARS aboard an Air Force MC-130. In order to get the 7 feet 10.5 inches tall vehicle aboard the aircraft, Marines had to remove multiple components off the top, including the antenna, machine gun, and infrared camera. They also had to lower the suspension and partially deflate the tires.

“The Air Force was very accommodating in making sure we were ready for the following day’s mission,” said Sgt. Jeffery Hale, a launcher chief with Kilo Battery. “I asked the loadmaster if we could have another shot at loading the HIMARS and he said ‘do whatever you Marines need to do to make sure you’re comfortable for tomorrow.’”

The following morning, the Marines and Airmen took off from Fort Campbell and after a four hour flight landed at Dugway Proving Grounds, where they off-loaded and reassembled the HIMARS. They then loaded a missile pod and drove to a firing point 1300 meters away from the plane, the minimum safe distance away from aircrafts. There, they fired two missiles at one target, readjusted, and fired two more at another, before returning to the plane and flying back to Fort Campbell. 

The exercise was conducted to demonstrate the Marine Corps’ ability to deploy their HIMARS capabilities and rapidly insert into a combat area via aircraft. This gives commanders precise tactics and missile fire on enemy targets that would be too dangerous to reach directly by aircraft and too far for cannon artillery, giving commanders more options to combat threats. 

2/14 is one of two units in the Marine Corps equipped with HIMARS, providing commanders with a versatile weapons platform that can be fired in all weather conditions and locations. It is also equipped with GPS guided missiles giving it the ability to accurately hit targets over 40 miles away.

“It was a great experience for me and my Marines,” Hale said. “We have practiced this tactic before and in segments, but never all together, or this quickly.”

With advances in warfare and the ever adapting threats against the United States and its allies, Marines must adapt and practice new techniques and tactics to combat these threats.

“These Marines are doing a really high end, high technology and very high skilled mission,” said Gunnery Sgt. Paul Hendee, the artillery operations chief with Kilo Battery. “It was a great training opportunity to do this mission and also getting to work with an Air Force special operation’s aircraft and crew.” 

The Marines of Kilo Battery are looking forward to future mission, trying new tactics and staying ready to fight tonight.