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Cpl. Corey Oncken, a gunner with 2nd LAAD, watches as a Stinger missile simulator is loaded for him to fire during the battalion team and section leaders course Feb. 8. Oncken was one of several Marines to fire the Stinger dummy round as a final test before graduating the course.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Stinger strike; 2nd LAAD Battalion team, section leaders complete course

14 Feb 2013 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Marines form 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion completed the unit’s 13-day team and section leaders course here Feb 8.

As their final learning experience before graduating the course, they fired dummy rounds from a Stinger trainer launcher simulator.

“This course helps produce new leaders within the unit,” said Cpl. Keith Vargas, a gunner with B Battery, 2nd LAAD Bn. “I have always been a team leader for the field ops; however, now I feel confident that I could step up and be a section leader in absence of one the present leaders.”

Vargas, one of more than 15 Marines who fired the round, said this course helps keep LAAD gunners up to par with their qualifications.

“Firing these missiles is extremely easy to learn and can be passed down to new Marines easily,” said Vargas.

The Stinger missile is designed to defend against enemy aircraft and can engage targets within an altitude of 10,000 feet and can cover a distance of eight kilometers. The simulated round is a 25-pound aluminum sleeve that can fly as far as 100 yards.

Vargas said the knowledge he has gained from this course, makes it easier to lead and teach his Marines.

“We try to teach these Marines about important tactics, knowledge and planning a mission while utilizing this weapon system,” said Sgt. Matthew Reyes, a course instructor for the team and section leader course. “With that knowledge, they can go on to better their battery, the unit and the Marine Corps.”

During the course the Marines sharpened their skills in land navigation, aircraft identification and radio communication.

“Everyone benefits from this course,” said Reyes. “From the wing commander down to the fresh-from-the-schoolhouse lance corporal, we all will benefit from the impact these future leaders will have in this unit.”


Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point