MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines with Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Company, Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, conducted a Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity assessment at Range 107, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, April 11, 2015.
The assessment began with a half-mile movement for the fire team, who were fulfilling the 0351 military occupational specialty of assaultman. Two gunners and two assistant gunners carried a fighting load of approximately 31 pounds. Additionally, the gunners held the 16-pound MK153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon (SMAW) while assistant gunners were responsible for carrying two 13-pound rockets each.
The movement was halted by an eight-foot-tall storage container that required the team to work together to get their gear and each other over it.
“The assessment has allowed me to do things that not a lot of people in the Marine Corps get to do,” said Sgt. Emma A. Bringas, anti-tank missileman, Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Co., GCEITF. “At the same time, it is very tiring when you are not brought up in the Marine Corps to do this for several years, and then go from one (military occupational specialty) to this for two months.”
When the last Marine reached the top of the storage container, the fire team lined up with and followed riflemen counterparts as they conducted a 500-meter fire and maneuver.
Once the team arrived at their "cold" position, the assistant gunners each loaded their gunner’s SMAW, and hastily moved to the "hot" position where each pair fired two rockets. The team immediately moved into their final task for the day: Casualty evacuation.
All four Marines worked together to successfully carry a dummy weighing approximately 220 pounds a distance of 100 meters, thereby completing the first day of their cycle.
“I enjoy shooting every day of the assessment,” said Sgt. Brian E. Willett, anti-tank missileman, Anti-Armor Section, Weapons Co., GCEITF. “I volunteered to be out here and affect change in the Marine Corps, and the standards that are in palace for the infantry.”
The following day, the Marines kicked off the defensive operations portion of their assessment, beginning with a four-and-a-half-mile movement to Range 110 with packs weighing approximately 52 pounds, plus the SMAW for the gunners and two simulated SMAW rockets for each individual.
Upon arrival at Range 110, the Marines turned to mounting the M41A4 Saber missile launcher atop a Humvee to act in accordance with the expected duties of an 0352 anti-tank missileman.
After dismounting the weapon system, the Marines carried 60-pound tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided missiles to the firing line. They again used the M41A4 Saber missile launchers to assault their armored targets down range and conclude their cycle.
“When I joined the Marine Corps, I wanted to be a tanker but was told I could not,” Bringas said. “I’m not doing this assessment for me, but for that one future female (Marine) who joins one day and wants to serve in an MOS that was previously closed to her.”
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.