MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Dust rises in the air as a UH-1Y Huey helicopter lands in the open terrain of SR-8 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 12, 2015. Marines board the aircraft in teams of two, each pair with an M110 semi-automatic sniper system in hand, and face outboard toward the field scattered with targets.
Marines with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion pride themselves on being jacks of all trades and being prepared for any mission.
“The aerial sniper exercise offers us a unique way to employ our weapons,” said Cpl. Michael Altieri, a radio telephone operator with the unit and a Long Island, New York, native. “We try our best to be prepared for a multitude of scenarios.”
Marines would use the aerial sniper technique in a tactical situation during a vessel board search and seizure, said GySgt. Kyle Dubois, a platoon sergeant with the unit. Marines in the aircraft would provide over watch with precision fire if for some reason Marines needed protection while de-boarding one ship and boarding another vessel.
Marines fired weapons from both the air and land during the two-day aerial sniper and machine-gun familiarization exercise.
Two-man teams laid on the firing line behind M240B machine guns and shot down targets at various distances, and afterward, snipers engaged targets while flying.
Approximately 20 Marines participated in the live-fire training exercise. They know one mistake could be detrimental to their mission.
“Recon teams are generally a small force,” Altieri said. “It’s important for us to be as proficient and precise as possible, because we can’t afford to make small mistakes.”
The company is in a three-month training phase and goes out to the field nearly every week, according to Sgt. Jeremy Broscious, a team leader with the unit and a Frederick, Maryland, native.
“Training is an important way for us to stay fresh on the weapons systems that are organic to a [reconnaissance] team,” Broscious said. “We want to work and we want to be given missions, so that’s why we constantly train and maintain mission readiness.”