JACKSONVILLE, N.C. -- On a morning where Camp Lejeune residents were issued a winter weather advisory, infantry Marines with Company A, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, bundled their bodies with warming layers and endured the freezing rain as they conducted grenadier training in the Verona Loop Training area, Jan. 14, 2015.
While the training focused on the doctrinal and conceptual factors of serving as a grenadier in a fire team and rifle squad, the Marines also used their time in the field to sharpen their skills in other areas.
“While we are out in the field, we’ve done everything from patrolling to shooting the M4s, M203s, explosives with the 203, and learning the basic rifleman skills,” said Sgt. Radmila M. Allen, team leader with 3rd Platoon, Co. A, GCEITF. “It is definitely challenging shooting a weapon system I am not familiar with, but practice definitely makes it easier. I can already see progress from yesterday to today.”
The M203 is a single-shot, 40mm grenade launcher that attaches to the M16 service rifle. When targets cannot be accessed by direct fire, Marines use the M203 grenade launcher to engage enemies with indirect fire.
“This training shows the Marines the impact the M203 has on the battlefield, how to effectively employ the weapon, and how to accurately fire the round, so they can get the desired effects on target,” said 1st Lt. Jonathon M. Yenny, 2nd platoon commander, Co. A, GCEITF.
Most Marines with the company are familiar with the grenade launcher, but there are some Marines that have not been through the Infantry Training Battalion, who are still learning about the M203.
“There’s a marked lack of familiarity with the weapons system when you compare the (provisional rifle platoon) to the Marines who have gone through ITB, but they are coming along pretty well,” said Yenny. “The (Marines) have been real accurate with the weapon system, showing they know how to handle it. The weapons handling and their accuracy has been pretty impressive.”
When the Marines are not engaging targets on the firing line, they are continuing to learn about the various weapon systems, and building camaraderie as a team.
“It is great to be in a platoon where we are a family, and everyone is looking out for one another,” said Allen. “Even when it is raining, and the weather makes it challenging for us to be out here for a long period of time, everyone makes the best of it and it makes this experience more enjoyable.”
From October 2014 to July 2015, the GCEITF will conduct individual and collective level skills training in designated ground combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.