ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Marines slowly edge their way to the firing line as adrenaline courses through their veins. Assuming their firing positions, they insert their magazines and prepare to fire. As the command was given, the sharp crack of rifles could be heard through the jungle as Marines and Australian Soldiers sent rounds downrange towards their targets.
Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, performed a range designed to give them a chance to work with Australian Soldiers, here, April 15, 2014.
“This is our first training event while here in Darwin, so it’s giving our guys a chance to adjust to the environment,” said Capt. Aaron Quintanar, commanding officer of Alpha Company, 1st Bn., 5th Marines, MRF-D. “We will be shooting both at day and night to make sure our weapons are zeroed in.”
Aside from zeroing in their weapons, the Marines showed members of the Australian Army their weapon systems, giving some of the Marines and Soldiers on both sides their first chance of this rotation to work together.
“This really gives my guys a good opportunity to come out here and interact with the Marines and get to know them,” said Capt. Christian Difabio, commanding officer of Logistics Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. “They will need this understanding of each other if they are going to work together for the next six -months.”
“Our guys loved using the American’s rifles,” said Difabio. “These weapons have proved themselves many times in a combat situation, so we were really excited to use them.”
The Marines went over all the basic handling of their weapons with the Australians, including the disassembling, cleaning and clearing procedures if the weapon jammed.
“These guys know their rifles inside and out,” said Quintanar. “And they love being able to show the Australian’s everything they know.”
For many of the Australians, it was their first chance to fire the Marines’ weapons systems, giving them the valuable experience of working together in a joint environment.
“These are very similar to our weapons,” said Difabio. “They use the same round and have similar recoil, and our guys are really comfortable shooting around the Marines.”
As a day came to a close, the Marines and Australians continued to send rounds downrange, further improving their skills and their ability to operate closely.