USS BATAAN --
Marines and sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s force reconnaissance, radio reconnaissance and intelligence teams conducted small arms, live-fire drills at sea aboard USS Bataan, April 22, 2011.
The shooters conducted the advanced firing drills to prepare for any hostile environment they may encounter while deployed with the 22nd MEU.
During the drills, Marines and sailors fired at silhouette targets positioned on the ship’s edge. Several drills allowed shooters to fire weapons in automatic strings, sending multiple rounds into the targets. The shooters fired rounds from the kneeling, standing and prone positions, and simulated closing in on multiple opponents from various distances.
“We worked on movement drills – shooting while on the move,” said a sniper and point man with force reconnaissance. “We really strive to become efficient at shooting while moving in all different directions.”
The riflemen, who countered wind gusts and the ship’s constant movement, fired shots while tactically closing with the targets, and practiced reloading his weapon while moving forward.
The Marines and sailors continually work on shooting multiple weapons under stress in erratic environments in order to gain a natural sense of control with the firearms. The operators also fire the M9 pistol, sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers to remain fluent with the weapons, the sniper said.
“It’s definitely important for muscle memory,” he said. “If our primary weapon was to go down, it’s muscle memory to grab that second weapon.”
The Marines and sailors in force reconnaissance feel honored to provide the MEU commander with such a unique capability aboard USS Bataan, the sniper added.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think the capability we are able to provide and the way that we’ve trained prior to deploying makes us a better asset, and more valuable to the MEU. I feel like all the work we’ve put in is definitely going to pay off.”
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and improve the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to a hostile environment or crisis.
• Editor’s Note: Names have been withheld for security purposes.