Marines Hone Machine Gunning Skills for Deployment

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.  — Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group are slated to deploy to Afghanistan in the coming months, but they are not wasting any time preparing each and every member of the unit.

Their mission will be to logistically support units throughout southwest Afghanistan by replenishing their supply yards and delivering critical goods such as ammunition, water and food.

They will spend countless hours in trucks and even walking through Afghan villages carrying several pounds of bulletproof gear, weapons, and ammunition in order to protect the precious supplies.

Therefore, the CLB-8 command didn’t hesitate to include the machine gunner’s course offered at Battle Skills Training School here, as part of the troops’ pre-deployment training.

Forty eight servicemembers with the battalion participated in the course July 16 to 27.

During the course, troops learned how to assemble and disassemble the M240B Medium Machine Gun, the Mark II .50 Caliber Machine Gun and the Mark 19 Grenade Launcher. They also learned the characteristics of each weapon and how far they can shoot it and accurately hit the target.

“We are teaching them how to do our job,” said Sgt. Angel M. Merced, a machine gun instructor at BSTS with 2nd MLG. “It is almost impossible to predict what is going to happen in combat, so every Marine needs to be ready for any situation.”

Merced has a lot of experience in this occupational field. He has deployed five times to Iraq and one time to Afghanistan as a machine gunner.

“If something happened to the gunner, you know anyone else in the vehicle or the patrol can man the gun and continue to provide suppressive fire,” he added. “Meanwhile, the corpsman can take care of the wounded Marine.”

Although the troops have different jobs, such as radio operators, truck drivers, and combat engineers, they all have one thing in common.

“We are all part of the same team, and we need to be able to do everybody’s jobs,” said Sgt. Deborah M. Chambers, a radio operator with CLB-8. “Some of us might have to be behind the machine gun most of the time, some others might be from time to time, but we all are going to be able to do it properly.”

The machine gunner’s course is just one of many training exercises servicemembers of the battalion will endure in order to have the necessary skills to successfully operate in Afghanistan.

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