1st Combat Engineer Battalion participates in machine gunners course

1st Combat Engineer Battalion participates in machine gunners course

LCpl Daniel Vitellaro, a Marine with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, fires a M249 light machine gun during a two-week machine gunners course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. Photo by LCpl Joshua Murray.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2014) -Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion recently participated in a non-Infantry machine gunners course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.

1st CEB specializes in conducting shore party operations during amphibious landings and providing close combat engineer support to the Marine infantry.

The Marines of 1st CEB are required to handle and effectively operate weapons used in combat, skills the course provides over the eight training days.

LCpl Daniel Vitellaro, a Marine with 1st CEB, said the non-infantry machine-gunner's course gives non-infantry Marines the proper tactics to effectively operate machine guns used in combat.

"We take classes on four different types of machine guns," Vitellaro said. "We use the M249 light machine gun, the M240, the Browning .50 Caliber machine gun, and the MK 19 automatic grenade launcher."

LCpl Alex Cruz, a Marine with 1st CEB, said the course is designed to teach the Marines every aspect of the weapon systems they use.

"We learn the characteristics, how to perform immediate remedial actions and the rates of fire," Cruz said. "Then we get into machine gun tactics, and my favorite part, firing the weapons."

The course improves the Marines combat effectiveness and bolsters their sense of self-reliance.

"We have been practicing every day and every night, over and over, until it has become muscle memory," Vitellaro said. "This course made me confident that if I am deployed and I have to man a machine gun, I could get behind that weapon and operate it effectively."