Photo Information

Lance Cpl Stephen M. Mauser, an MWSS-271 heavy equipment operator, shoulders ammunition for the M-2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun at Camp Lejeune. More than 50 Marines shot the M-2, the Mk-19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher and the M-240B medium machine gun during their weapons training exercise.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

Force in readiness: MWSS-271 improves crew-served weapons proficiency

2 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

In garrison, Cpl. Silena N. McCain spends her day placing orders for replacement parts.

But on a deployment, the Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 supply administration clerk, must be prepared to defend her fellow Marines with a humvee-mounted weapon.

More than 50 Marines with MWSS-271 trained with an Mk-19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, an M-2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun and the M-240B 7.62 mm medium machine gun at the SR-7 range, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene, March 2. Regardless of military occupational specialty, the Marines had one goal in mind.

“This training was to familiarize and improve the proficiency of the Marines with crew-served weapon systems, to allow the unit to remain force ready,” said Master Sgt. Donald L. Wilson, the MWSS-271 air-ground base defense coordinator.

The unit holds this training quarterly to keep its Marines prepared for real-life situations.

“It was a great feeling shooting the weapons,” said McCain. “It didn’t feel any different from shooting the M-16, but it was a lot of fun. I believe it is important that Marines need to know how to use all the weapons that the Marine Corps has. It allows us to be a more force ready organization.”

According to Wilson, the Marines went through three classes to learn about the weapons prior to going to the range.

“They learned the characteristics of each weapon, the purpose of each weapon, and disassembly and assembly of the weapon,” said Wilson. “The Marines shot the .50-caliber machine gun from a mount aboard the humvee and the Mk-19 and M-240B from a tripod mount.”

At the range, the Marines demonstrated their skills with each weapon, firing at targets positioned at distances of 800 to 2,000 meters.

Wilson said the training helps the Marines gain confidence and proficiency with the weapons, so they can provide security when needed.

“We train this way so we can provide security if needed,” said Wilson. “Whether it’s conducting air base ground defense or base recovery after an attack, we are more prepared because of this training.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point