U.S. Marines and Sailors assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (BLT 2/8), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducted routine sustainment training ashore at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
Marines with Golf Company’s Weapons Platoon and Weapons Company’s 81mm mortars platoon performed a series of live-fire exercises, which enhanced the MEU’s ability to be a crisis-response force in the region at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, March 2.
“Live-fire training is essential to maintaining the BLT's proficiency in its principle purpose – warfighting,” said 1st Lt. Zachary Byrd, platoon commander for 81mm mortars platoon.
The Marines were able to conduct live-fire training with Fire Support Team (FiST) incorporation, inherent to each rifle company. One of the FiST roles is to synchronize fires with maneuver.
“We were able to simulate this in Kuwait, allowing indirect fires to support what is and has always been the Marine Corps' bid for success, the rifleman closing with the enemy and destroying him,” Byrd said.
Marines with Golf Company also conducted force-on-force training with Soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at the Udairi Range Complex in Kuwait. The training exercise consisted of platoon attacks against a fortified defensive position in desert terrain leading to an urban environment.
“Both Marine and Army platoons conducted an offensive attack and a defensive block during the day and night to enhance their ability to fight a near peer threat,” said 1st Lt. Nolan Connors, executive officer for Golf Company.
The exercise resulted in unmatched training value, and it forced decision making by small unit leaders – from both the Marines and Soldiers.
“The training objectives that were achieved would not have been possible without the help of the ‘Soldiers of the Geronimo Battalion,’"Connors said.
Machine gun fire, riflemen rushing to the targets and rockets fired from shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons culminated the BLT’s training. Platoon commanders and platoon sergeants supervised the training closely to ensure the efficiency and safety of their personnel throughout the exercise.
"The training the Marines of Golf Company received in Kuwait is the reason why many of these Marines joined,” said 1st. Sgt. Charles McAdams, Golf Company first sergeant. “We gave them exactly what they expected – tough, motivating and realistic training. It helps remind Marines their office is the field, their bed is the ground, and their weapon is not a computer – it’s a rifle. If we are not striving to get better, we are progressively getting worse."
This training provided an opportunity to enhance the capabilities and critical mission sets for the MEU within the U.S. Central Command, and it demonstrated the 26th MEU’s capability to conduct operations across a full spectrum of conventional, unconventional and hybrid warfare.