Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Jesse Ballard performs remedial action on the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon at Marine Corps Bases Quantico, Va., May 18. Ballard is an administrative clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, Marine Barracks Washington.

Photo by Sgt. Bobby J. Yarbrough

MBW’s grounds platoon maintains combat proficiency

18 May 2011 | Sgt. Bobby J. Yarbrough

Marines with grounds platoon at Marine Barracks Washington fired the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon on an unknown distance course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., May 18.

The live-fire training allowed the unit to remain operationally ready by increasing each Marine’s proficiency in infantry operations.

The practical application exercise was designed to refamiliarize the Marines with the individual weapon system, assess their ability to perform remedial action drills during live-fire scenarios, and test each Marine’s accuracy as they fired from the standing and kneeling positions.

"As infantry Marines, it is important for them to know, understand, and be comfortable with a variety of weapon systems," said Staff Sgt. William Hayes, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of grounds. "This comfort level is important when Marines are forward deployed."

The Marines fired more than 6,000 rounds during the evolution as they shot through mock windows and around corners simulating a military operation in urban terrain. For Hayes, this is an important skill for each of his Marines to learn.

"Marines are currently engaged in urban terrain warfare in Afghanistan," said Hayes. "We have to train these Marines accordingly so they will be fully prepared for war when it’s their turn to get to the fight."