USS SAN ANTONIO, At sea -- Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment practiced close quarters combat marksmanship on the USS San Antonio for Baltic Operations May 30, 2015.
BALTOPS is an annual exercise that provides the opportunity for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and regional partners to strengthen inoperability through a series of tactical maneuvers and scenarios. The exercise involves Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Soldiers of participating nations working side-by-side to enhance each other’s tactics and expertise, both on land and sea.
"Doing the CQCM training, it gave them [Marines] a chance to have rounds in their weapon," said Sgt. Matthew Sanford, a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines Regiment and native of Rochester, New York. "Training most of them [Marines] have not done since the School of Infantry."
Most of the Marines conducting the CQCM training are junior Marines who have arrived at their first Marine Corps duty station and are preparing for an upcoming Marine Expeditionary Unit next year.
“The junior Marines have not worked with experienced Marines in a group before telling them what to do and how to do it they learned a lot,” said Lance Cpl. Jerimiah Trajkovski, a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and native of Macomb, Michigan. “This training acquaints the Marines with Table 4, as well as using their weapons effectively.”
The primary mission for Marines in BALTOPS is working side-by-side to enhance other nations' tactics and expertise, both on land and at sea.
“Mostly because of the availability, we cannot shoot farther than 25 yards on the ship,” said Sanford. “The fundamentals used here on the ship are the same ones you would use at longer ranges to include more muscling the weapon as opposed to bone support.”
During the BALTOPS exercise, Marines will be operating in Poland, Sweden, Germany, and the Baltic States.
“We want to show the Polish military we have great leadership and marksmanship abilities," said Trajkovski. “What we have been doing the past three to four years, I have never trained with foreign countries.”
BALTOPS is an excellent opportunity for NATO and regional partners to strengthen inoperability through a series of tactical maneuvers and scenarios.
"Any live fire training allows you to get down with the weapon,” said Sanford. “Without live rounds coming out of the weapon you do not know how much recoil the weapon has, and how it feels with your adrenaline pumping.”
The dynamic nature of BALTOPS has allowed Marines to progress with allied nations as allies and partners.