Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic, N.C. -- Marines with Alpha Battery, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, conducted ground-base air defense training at Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic, North Carolina, Feb. 2-6.
The Marines of the battery are uniquely trained to target enemy aircraft with shoulder-fired missiles in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.
According to 1st Lt. James P. Morgan, the executive officer of the battery, the field exercise gave the junior Marines an opportunity to learn and understand the functions and mission of the unit.
“For many of the Marines here, this is their first field operation,” said Morgan, a native of Stoneham, Massachusetts. “Our goal is to get the younger Marines on the same page as our more experienced Marines. Bring them to a field environment will build their unit cohesion and understanding of their duties within the battery.”
The Marines dispersed across the airfield – moving in three and four man teams, wielding their small-arms and a PL-87 Stinger Missile for each team.
“The teams are responsible for their own section of the airfield,” said Morgan. “When all the teams are working together, this provides a sort of bubble over the airfield, each team responsible for their sector of fire.”
Throughout the five-day exercise, the Marines practiced radio communications, cover and concealment, and targeting of simulated enemy aircraft.
According to Sgt. Josiah J. Paronish, a gunner with the battery, communication between teams is essential to the battery’s success.
“Each gunner should know the roles of their team leaders, and the team leaders should know the role of their section leaders,” said Paronish, a native of Felton, Pennsylvania.
During the training, the Marines also honed their ability to control air space and defend against enemy aircraft, said Paronish.
“Being away from garrison allows the Marines to focus on their training,” said Paronish. “The Marines get a chance to get out of their daily routine and practice their skills.”