Photo Information

Cpl. Anthony Payton, a field artillery cannoneer with Lima Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, swabs an M777 Howitzer after it was fired during a live-fire exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 30, 2015. This was the last exercise Lima conducted as a standalone battery.

Photo by Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara

One last round for Lima Battery

2 Oct 2015 | Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Lima Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, participated in a very special howitzer live-fire exercise at Camp Lejeune, on Sept. 30.

The battery will soon be participating in a large-force integrated training exercise at Twentynine Palms, California, along with other batteries from 10th Marines. However, this was the last exercise Lima will conduct as a standalone battery before its deactivation in March 2016.

“While we’re at ITX we’ll be providing Marines with close, accurate and safe indirect fires in support of the maneuver,” said Capt. Todd Musicant, the battery commander from the unit. “Something unique about this field operation is that this [will be] the last time Lima Battery ever shoots by itself.”

The purpose of artillery is to provide infantry units with an effective method of indirect fire which allows ground forces to close with and destroy the enemy. Adding to its usefulness, the howitzer can be relied upon in any weather situation.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, if there’s clouds in the sky or if it’s night time,” said Musicant “If you can see the target, we can hit it for you.”

Behind the howitzer are at least six Marines and a section chief, each with a vital role in employing the massive weapon. 

After the recorder takes down the target location given by the fire direction center, the howitzer is aimed at the target. 

Once the round and powder are loaded, the howitzer is ready to fire, said Cpl. Taylor Roepke, section chief with the unit, whose job is to give the final order to fire.

“I’m glad to be out here shooting again,” said Roepke. “I love my job. Not a lot of people can say they shoot a weapon like we do.”

Though the Marines of Lima Battery will soon be going their separate ways, some attaching to a Marine expeditionary unit, some going to a new duty station and others honorably exiting the Marine Corps, they will each remember the time they spent with their artillery brothers and the everlasting bonds they created.

“I’ve been in the Marine Corps almost ten years and have worked with many talented individuals,” said Musicant. 

“These Marines always get the job done with such a high level of proficiency you’d think they never stop firing, it’s amazing. This is the best unit I’ve ever been a part of.”