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A Marine with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion guides an amphibious assault vehicle during a gunnery skills exercise at Marine COrps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 13, 2016. The company conducted the training to prepare for their upcoming participation in the Integrated Training Exercise.

Photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

AAV crews, sections qualify for ITX

15 Apr 2016 | Cpl. Paul S. Martinez The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion reinforced their collective skills as crews and sections during a gunnery range exercise at  Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 13, 2016.

 The company conducted the training in preparation for their upcoming participation in the Integrated Training Exercise at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, where they will be tested in completing a range as a platoon.

“The platoon is out here today conducting gunnery to set us up for success when we go out to ITX,” said 2nd Lt. Philip Hiner, a platoon commander with the company. “At ITX, we will be doing a lot of integrated exercises with infantry battalions. We will utilize our gunnery skills on the ranges out there.”

Marines utilized the amphibious assault vehicle’s .50 caliber machine gun and Mk-19 40mm grenade launcher to engage targets at distances between 400 and 2000 meters.

“With this training, we are implementing a gunnery skills test program into the AAV community,” said Cpl. Lathan J. Faver, an acting section leader with the company. “It’s a test that pushes us to achieve faster engagement times and effective hits on our targets.”

The focus of the gunnery range was to also qualify the Marines as crews and sections, a requirement that keeps them current in their capabilities within the vehicles. Even the factors of errors in training are critical so that crews are aware of how to properly respond to them.

“We have turret simulators back at the ramp and they give you an idea of handling the weapons system, but out here is where you really get your hands-on experience by shooting, finding yourself with a weapons malfunction, and learning how to handle it,” Faver said.

The company is slated to depart for ITX at the end of the month.

“Their skills are increasing here,” Hiner said. “A lot of what we do in gunnery relies on communication. By working as a crew, that quick communication and identification of the enemy on this range will give our Marines the ability to more effectively engage.”

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