A Marine with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment helps the gunner fire a Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missile during a battle drill at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 23, 2016. The more experienced Marines got up and helped guide the new Marines who were shooting the weapon system for the first time.
AUG. 26, 2016
TOW BATTLE DRILLS PREPARE 3/6
By Lance Cpl. Jonathan Sosner, II Marine Expeditionary Force
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, along with Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division conducted Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) battle drills with anti-armor missile systems and heavy machine guns in order to maintain unit readiness at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 23, 2016.
“The .50-caliber machine gun and the MK-19 Grenade launcher occupied the berm and suppressed the target,” said Lance Cpl. Austin Williams, a section leader with the unit. “After the TOW gunner took the shot and once the enemy is destroyed we egressed.”
The opportunity for infantry units to actually fire TOW missiles does not come by often. In order to remain cost effective, they must train through every step except actually firing the missile.
“Firing the missile, as opposed to just dry runs is critical for training,” Williams said. “Actually experiencing how the weapon reacts once fired is something that you can’t really get anywhere else.”
Aside from the technical aspects of firing the weapon systems, the Marines learned the importance of various skills.
“Communication is key between the gun trucks and Saber trucks,” said Lance Cpl. Zachary Sidel, an antitank missileman with the unit. “You constantly need to be communicating with the Marines in your vehicle, as well as coordinating with the other vehicles out there.”
While some of the Marines on the range fired the Sabre Missile System for the first time, many of the more experienced Marines got to hone in their skills.
“I learned how to run my section more efficiently and that you really need to take charge and communicate effectively with everyone,” said Williams. “Overall, I think we did very well.”
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