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U.S. Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fire a shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon (SMAW) during live fire training Nov 24, 2015. The 26th MEU is embarked on the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and is deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

Photo by Cpl. Jeraco Jenkins

Marines with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit maintain their fighting edge

23 Dec 2015 | Courtesy Story The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted a live-fire rocket shoot during sustainment training, Nov. 24, 2015, in order to maintain and refine their warfighting readiness. 

“The rocket shoot enhanced the ability of the assault squad’s gun team to engage targets of precedence quickly and effectively,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan Stokes, an assault team leader with weapons platoon, Fox Company. “Live-fire ranges are also a great opportunity for small unit leaders to gain experience and control weapons placement for the teams.” 

The assault squad trained into the night by placing the weapon system into position and following the step-by-step fundamental procedures for firing the SMAW. 

“In order to remain effective at night or in low light conditions, the gun teams must rely on the fundamentals,” said Stokes. “Sticking to the fundamentals will help get the rockets on target and keep the gun teams safe.” 

The day and night live-fire rocket range was one of multiple live-fire ranges conducted throughout sustainment training. 

Marines with Fox Company also conducted day and night live-fire medium machine gun and combat marksmanship ranges. 

“Both the day and night live-fire ranges allowed for us to increase proficiency,” said Cpl. Travis Thompsonsevcik, a machine gun section leader with weapons platoon, Fox Company. “Simulated targets resembling enemy troops and vehicles are staged at various distances so the section has to adjust and work as a team in order to effectively employ the weapon system.” 

Marines working as a team seized the opportunity to strengthen their unit cohesion during the sustainment training. 

“Essentially, the individual and collective tasks given and carried out by the team throughout the training helps us build our unit cohesion,” said Thompsonsevcik. “We gauge the proficiency of the team by observing and calculating results of the training so we can focus on the areas where we can improve to maximize our efficiency as a machine gun section. However, it is unit cohesion, which brings everything together to make that possible.” 

Following a successful day and night of machine gun training and rocket ranges exercises, Marines with Fox Company honed their marksmanship skills by conducting a combat marksmanship range program (CMP). 

“The combat marksmanship program incorporates dynamic shooting positions, such as standing, kneeling and the prone position into a live-fire range,” said 1st Lt. Shan Mandrayar, an infantry platoon commander with Fox Company. “Everything is on the move and we do our best to simulate a combat environment. From start to finish, each Marine on the range engages simulated targets while transitioning to multiple shooting positions, all while on the move and taking protective cover in order to minimize exposure.” 

Overall, Marines with Fox Company felt the sustainment training was a success and was a great opportunity to build camaraderie.

“The sustainment training this early in the deployment was an excellent opportunity to increase combat readiness, which in turn enhances our capability to respond to any mission that may arise during the course of our deployment,” said Capt. James McMenamin, commanding officer of Fox Company.