CAMP LEMONNIER, DJIBOUTI --
Marines with Lima Battery, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), trained ashore near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, October 3 to 6.
The Marines conducted crew-served weapons training, irregular warfare training and fire-team attacks.
“It was very important for Lima Battery to receive this training,” said Capt. Christopher M. Baker, the commanding officer of Lima Battery and Cincinnati native. “The training was an outstanding opportunity for Lima Battery to focus on the skills necessary to perform in a provisional infantry role.”
Djibouti was the battery’s first chance to train ashore since training in Sierra Del Retin, Spain, in June. The Marines have been embarked aboard the multipurpose amphibious ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) since June.
“Providing timely and accurate artillery and mortar fires is the battery’s primary mission,” said Baker. “While attached to the 22nd MEU, the battery is also tasked with being capable of conducting non-combatant evacuations, embassy reinforcement, and provisional infantry missions. It is very important to dedicate the appropriate training time to our non-standard missions.”
The Marines took full advantage of their time by continuing to develop necessary infantry skill sets.
“Every Marine is a rifleman,” said Cpl. Zachary P. Mitchell, a section chief with Lima Battery and West Minister, S.C., native. “You should always know your job and as much as you can about everything else.”
Their first training exercise was conducted on a crew-served weapons range where the battery’s crew-served teams fired the M240G and M2 Browning .50 caliber machine guns.
“The crew-served weapons range is good training,” said Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Little, a cannoner with Lima Battery, and Nashville, Tenn., native. “I really enjoyed it. I like shooting the M240.”
The irregular warfare range lived up to its name. Staff Sgt. Randy C. Jaekel, the motor transportation chief with the battery and Lincoln, Mo., native developed the range to test the Marines on use of combat marksmanship skills while also paying close attention to their target. Marines focused on aiming at small targets from a long distance.
“I hope they realize how hard it is to select smaller targets,” said Jaekel. “Also, the secondary purpose was to make a competition out of it. I wanted them to have fun.”
The final range, a live-fire fire-team attack range, tested the Marines’ small-unit leadership. They communicated and coordinated movement as their team rushed across the rocky, Djiboutian desert.
After the teams had rushed nearly 100 meters they were provided a simulated casualty. They had to run through smoke grenades, move the casualty to safety and call for a medical evacuation.
“The range was a success,” said Mitchell. “A lot of our Marines learned many new skills. They got to actually do a fire-team attack range with live rounds instead of just going through the motions.”
Lima Battery has been deployed for more than six months and will continue to train and prepare themselves for any of the many missions they could be called on to do while forward deployed.
The 22nd MEU is currently deployed as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) as the U.S. Central Command theatre reserve force, also providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.