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Lance Cpl. Alex R. Vieira fires an M-240B machine gun during a two-day field exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 6, 2014. Vieira is a gunner with Battery B, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

2nd LAAD completes grenade, machine gun qualifications

13 Mar 2014 | Lance Cpl. Joshua Heins

Nearly 50 Marines with Battery B, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion conducted a two-day field exercise March 5 – 6 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The purpose of the exercise was to qualify and maintain proficiency with both the M-203 grenade launcher and the M-240B machine gun.

2nd LAAD provides air defense for Marines operating in combat. Each Marine in the battalion needs to know how to employ different weapons to provide maximum support for Marines conducting combat operations, according to Sgt. Rico L. Roads, a section leader with the battery.

"One day we will be attached to an infantry unit and will need to understand not only our own jobs, but the jobs of the Marines around us," said Roads.

During the training, the Marines of Battery B learned how to mount, maintain, aim and fire the M-203 grenade launcher. The M-203 is a single shot, 40mm grenade launcher that attaches to the M-16A4 service rifle and M-4 carbine.

The Marines shot four rounds during the grenade range, three of which were for practice in the prone, kneeling and standing positions. Following the practice rounds, each Marine received one high explosive round for qualification.

Shooting from all the different positions allows Marines to feel more comfortable when faced with a combat situation, said Rose.

The Marines of Battery B also got hands-on with the M-240B, a common and effective machine gun familiar to combat troops, said Sgt. Miguel A. Rodriguez, a gunner with the battery. The Marines qualified with the M-240B, firing more than 150 7.62mm rounds during qualifications.

The Marines also fired the machine gun from the turret of a Humvee, simulating a combat task common for machine gunners, according to Rodriguez.

"It was great training," said Rodriguez. "You always need to keep the Marines on their toes, so they don’t become complacent. This training helps them maintain their tactical proficiency and sense of urgency, and also how to properly employ their weapons."

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point