MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- “If it ain’t rainin’, we ain’t trainin’!” a Marine laughed as the sky opened up and the rain began to pour. All around him the Marines were soaked to the bone yet their spirits remained high. They had a mission to accomplish and it would take more than a little inclement weather to stop them from firing the 60mm mortar.
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, conducted a 60mm mortar shoot at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 19, in order to retain and refine their skills with the weapons system.
“Today we are shooting the 60mm mortar,” said Sgt. Kevin Doss, a section leader with the unit. “We are shooting direct alignment. This is when you have your squad leaders offset from your gun line because the gun can’t see the target. The squad leader gets up where he can see it and shoots an azimuth to the target and gives that to the gun line, and the gun line gets the gun up and starts firing.”
Squad leaders armed with compasses and binoculars took measurements and conducted calculations in order to determine the direction of fire. They then relayed the elevation and direction to the Marines firing the mortar system.
“For direct alignment, you put your indirect fire assets behind some sort of cover,” said Staff Sgt. Johnathan Ellis, a section leader with the unit. “They do not see the targets. The squad leader is going to push off to the left or right flanks, relatively close enough for communications to give the fire command or fire mission to his squad or to his mortar systems.”
Both teams worked quickly yet calmly to ensure the rounds were fired off rapidly to simulate a combat environment.
“What we typically do with this type of training in a deployment situation is employment of 60mm mortars in order to suppress a target of interest or the enemy to allow a maneuvering commander to employ direct fire assets or machine guns,” said Ellis.
Overall, Marines felt the training was a great success and were proud of the way they proved they could handle any mission under any conditions.
“I think it went well,” said Doss. “The rain isn’t helping at all, but we got through it and they shot well.”