MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – More than 140 Marines
with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion conducted PL-87 Stinger Missile
live fire training at Onslow Beach at Camp Lejeune, N.C. March 18 – 19, 2014.
“The purpose of this training is to track live targets,
giving the Marines the confidence they need to shoot their weapon systems while
downrange,” said Sgt. Todd Grindstaff, the 2nd LAAD training chief.
Gunners with the squadron shot 70 live missiles at MQM-170
Outlaw unmanned aerial vehicles during the training to fulfill their annual
training requirements. Supply, motor transport and communications Marines from
Battery B, Battery A and Headquarters and Support Battery were on hand to
support their brother-in-arms on the ground while they shot in disparate
visibility conditions, including foggy and night conditions.
"The Marines donned gas masks to prepare for situations
that may include chemical and biological attacks," according to
Practicing their skills in environments that they aren’t
used to will only help boost their confidence and show them that they have what
it take to employ their missiles no matter the clime or place.
“This is something they’ve never done before,” he said.
“After I did it the first time, I realized it wasn’t hard.”
The night conditions and gas masks were not the only things
the Marines looked forward to during the training. They also anticipated
meeting and greeting with the visitors who came to the training to see the
battalion in action and share some words of encouragement.
“I’m delighted to be able to come down here and spend a few
minutes with you all,” said Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., the deputy
Commandant for Aviation, during an informal conversation he shared with the
Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund, commanding general of 2nd
Marine Aircraft Wing; Col. Jeff S. Kojac, commanding officer of Marine Air
Control Group 28; and Sgt. Maj. Christopher Robinson, sergeant major of 2nd
MAW, all attended the training as observers. All attendees said they were
amazed at the level of professionalism the Marines displayed.
Sgt. Maj. Robinson said it was his first time watching a
night shoot and was amazed at how the Marines performed.
Their level of expertise and proficiency proves their combat
readiness, he said.
“There was a point when [Low Altitude Air
Defense Battalions] were going to go away because there were no missions for
them,” he said. “But they have proven that they are needed, they are still a
viable asset to the Marine Corps.”