CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
As a forward-deployed motor transport operator, moving Marines and supplies to and from combat is essential. Marines with Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division conducted weapons handling and live-fire training Nov. 8, 2018 with .50 Caliber M2A1 and M240B weapon systems as part of pre-deployment training in preparation for the upcoming Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) in 29 Palms, California.
“Truck Company will be fulfilling its role as the Medium Tactical Lift for the Division, but instead of training in Okinawa, we’ll be doing it at ITX, supporting one of their infantry battalions,” said 1st Lt. Mark Matiski, a platoon commander with Truck Company.
Many of the junior Marines going to ITX did not receive the same training as their leadership on these weapon systems during their time at Marine Combat Training (MCT), so their command has implemented proficiency training to prepare their Marines for the upcoming event.
The range's first and foremost purpose is pre-deployment training, said Matiski. Additionally, it is to develop Marine’s proficiency with the .50 Caliber M2A1 weapon system since a lot of junior Marines didn’t get to fire the weapon during MCT. Marines spent the day getting familiar with range cards for the traverse and elevation mechanism, as well as the M2A1 and M240 weapon systems.
“This was my first time being able to shoot the M2A1,” said Pfc. Jamison Long, a motor transportation operator with Truck Company. “I went through MCT in April, but we didn’t have training on any machine guns. It was really rewarding to use the weapons knowing we are going to ITX soon.”
Motor transportation Marines are tasked with taking Marines and supplies to the fight in combat zones. Therefore, they are required to be knowledgeable in the weapon systems they transport and utilize.
“Another reason we train as a non-infantry unit to operate the .50 Cal is because we rate more weapons than an infantry unit, and we have the trucks that they’re mounted on,” said Matiski. “We need to be just as good as the infantrymen, if not better, since we are in the operational field that brings Marines to the frontline. That’s the role of Truck Company.”