Abraham Lincoln once stated “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe.”
The remain behind element of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd LAR), a unit that has a unique blend of Marines that have already deployed and Marines that have just graduated from the School Of Infantry, spent a day at range 104, firing multiple weapon systems thus sharpening their “axe” in preparation for a future deployment.
The day’s objective was to fire high explosive weapons that the Marines usually do not have the opportunity to practice with. The first weapon fired was the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon. Although a small amount of the Marines from this unit have been in the Marine Corps for more than two years, this was the first time they have fired the SMAW.
“[Firing] the SMAW is additional training that they may have not received in the School of Infantry,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Decarvalho, one of the unit’s platoon sergeants.
Contrary to the belief that completing tasks without prior experience can often times result in a negative experience; Lance Cpl John Phillips, an RBE Marine who was just promoted from being an amphibious reconnaissance vehicle driver to a gunner, stated that although this was the first time firing the SMAW, the shoot was his “favorite” event of the day. Lance Cpl. Anthony Sword, another RBE Marine agreed, saying that “this is one of the most motivating training” days he has ever participated in.
After firing the SMAW, the Marines fired the AT-4; an 84mm unguided anti-tank rocket launcher, and practiced throwing live grenades on the grenade range.
Although some of the Marines may not use these weapons during the upcoming deployment; Decarvalho said he believes that “Marines should be trained for any situation that may pop up, no matter what their [military occupational specialty] may be.”
The Marines of 3rd LAR were focused and intent on becoming proficient in weapons that they do not normally use. In case a conflict occurs in the future, these Marines are confident they will perform masterfully.