Photo Information

Marines with 81mm mortar platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, conduct gun drills here Sept. 11 to prepare for a live-fire exercise. The battalion is the ground combat element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is conducting its second sea-based exercise since becoming a complete Marine air-ground-task force in May.

Photo by Sgt. Elyssa Quesada

MEU participates in live-fire exercise

13 Sep 2011 | Sgt. Elyssa Quesada 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and sailors with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in a live-fire exercise here Sept. 12-13 during the unit’s second sea-based exercise since becoming a complete Marine air-ground task force in May.

During the exercise, MEU Marines coordinated mortar fire, naval gun fire and airstrikes. The island’s training area provided an 81 mm mortar platoon an environment to improve skills and develop combined joint air, land and sea fire-support capabilities.

“The exercise requires a lot of coordination from each fire agency to meet the unit’s needs,” said Gunnery Sgt. Aaron L. Galey, the field artillery operations chief with mortar platoon. “During the live-fire, we were able to provide indirect fire support for supporting arms and fire-support coordination centers.”

The exercise included two AH-1Z Vipers and two AV-8B Harriers with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced), logistics support from Combat Logistics Battalion 11, and artillery with Kilo Battery.

“Training allows our command to be 100-percent confident of our capabilities and ensures top performance during time of war,” said Cpl. Luis A. Lerma, a squad leader with the mortar platoon.

Training will help the Marines become proficient mortarmen and provide accurate and timely fires for any situation that may arise during deployment, Galey said.

The unit, which is in its pre-deployment training cycle, embarked the amphibious assault ship Makin Island and the amphibious transport dock New Orleans in San Diego Sept. 1 to prepare for its Western Pacific deployment.

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