MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- “Look left, look right, back blast area all clear!” The Marine sets his sights on his target, takes a breath and yells “rocket!” before firing his weapon.
Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division trained with the M203 40mm grenade launcher and the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon, or SMAW, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 23, 2015.
“This was [our] live-fire to demonstrate proficiency with those weapons systems [which] we will be using in more advanced training and through our deployment,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Horgan, a platoon commander with 2nd CEB and Delmar, New York native.
The M203 is a single shot, under-barrel grenade launcher that is attached to an M16-A4 service rifle and fires a 40mm grenade. Likewise, the SMAW is an 83mm portable weapon system that can fire high explosive, dual purpose (HEDP) rockets and high explosive anti-armor (HEAA) rockets.
“The most important thing to me is learning the weapons systems because a lot of people don’t get to shoot these. When [people] get familiar with it, they won’t be scared [and] they’ll be ready for it,” said Cpl. Nelson Crance, a team leader with 2nd CEB and Petersburg, Virginia native.
Crance also said many of the Marines had not shot the weapons before so the training was geared toward making sure they became proficient in firing the weapons and performing misfire drills.
“They did very well [with] remedial action and immediate action [drills] when [it] came up,” said Crance. “They didn’t get scared, they stayed calm and they did what they were taught.”
Horgan said although the training was conducted in order to maintain proficiency for the unit for an upcoming deployment, it also helped promote unit cohesion and camaraderie.
“It’s always good to get out with Marines [and] fire something whether it’s just an M16 or an M9,” said Horgan. “Marines want to train, they want to be out in the field and they want to be on ranges. When that happens, Marines are in a good mood, the morale is high, they’re focused on training and that’s what they want to be doing.”