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Sgt. Jonathan Temple, right, and Sgt. Manuel Soto Jr., left, motor transport operators with Motor Transport Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 371, supervise a Marine firing an MK-19 grenade launcher at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., June 16. Marines with MWSS-371 conducted crew-served weapons training with MK-19 grenade launchers and M2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted onto 7-ton trucks and Humvees to hone their skills and increase their readiness. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brytani Wheeler/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Brytani Wheeler

“Sand Sharks” hone skills with crew-served weapons

21 Jun 2016 | Sgt. Brytani Wheeler 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

More than 30 Marines fired crew-served weapons at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, June 16.

“The training that took place here is motor transport operators shooting the M2 .50-caliber machine guns and MK-19 grenade launcher mounted on 7-ton trucks and Humvees,” said 1st Lt. Axel Alicea, the motor transport operations platoon commander with MWSS-371. “They’re shooting at unknown distance targets, getting familiar with the weapons systems, remedial actions, immediate actions, and getting comfortable with how the weapon feels on top of a truck.”

The goal of the training was to get the motor transport Marines experience with operating the weapons and with how it feels to be in the trucks in order to prepare for when we are forward deployed or in any deployment status, added Cpl. Dakota Wright, a motor transport operator with Motor Transport Company, MWSS-371.

Having the knowledge of how to fire the weapons and conduct remedial and immediate action drills when the weapon jams, prepares them for any situation.

“It’s important because you never know exactly where you’re going to be in the future. Having these Marines ready and comfortable whenever that time arises, [will ensure] they’re ready to execute,” said Alicea.

The skills acquired from this training allow Marines to support 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in harsh conditions without additional support.

“It’s required for these Marines to understand how to employ these weapons because with MWSS we set up expeditionary air fields,” said Alicea. “Sometimes we’re in an austere environment on our own so it’s important for these Marines to know how to employ these weapons.”

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