MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Before Marines go overseas, they must sharpen basic combat skills to be ready for deployment.
More than 100 Marines from Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 38 traveled to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to participate in their final Battlefield Zero exercise for their deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The BZO exercise helped the Marines fine tune their M-4 or M16-A2 service rifles by shooting dozens of rounds on targets 36 feet away. After the last rounds were fired, the Marines’ shot groups were tight and centered on the black.
Before the MTACS-38 Marines conducted the final BZO exercise, they participated in their Mission Rehearsal Exercise, a three-week exercise, which gets them ready for deployment.
“It’s always important for them to pick up these skills again because they are basic Marine skills they need to know,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Lundgreen, who will be the training officer for MTACS-38 during the deployment. “The training is essential for the deployment.”
The MTACS-38 Marines also refreshed their skills on the .50 caliber and M240B machine guns with classes and practical application, two weapons they weren’t familiar with using. After receiving several tutorials on the weapons, they got a chance to use their skills on the range. The Marines fired more than 1,000 rounds from each weapon. For many of them, it was the first time firing the different weapons systems.
“It was a lot of fun firing the weapons,” said Lance Cpl. Steven R. Weinberg, an operations clerk with the squadron. “I learned how to function check it, and it’s good to learn how to use them.”
Although the role of Marines will be to provide air support to ground units with their Tactical Air Command System this coming deployment for a year, the more skills they know, the more they can do during deployment, added Lundgreen.
With the added training and preparation, the MTACS-38 Marines will be prepared to face the challenges while deployed as well as have additional skills if they are called upon to do so.