Marine Artillerymen Prepare For Deployment, Build Unity

Marine Artillerymen Prepare For Deployment, Build Unity

Artillerymen with Combined Arms Company Artillery Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment load an M777A2 Howitzer during a week-long training exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 11-15. The newly formed unit made up of Marines from Bravo and Charlie Batteries, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment tested their teamwork and versatility during the exercise, which is part of their preparation for an upcoming deployment in support of the Black Sea Rotational Force based in Romania. Photo by LCpl Fatmeh Saad.

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (May 11-15, 2015) - Approximately 40 artillerymen from Bravo and Charlie Batteries, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment were assigned to the newly formed Combined Arms Company Artillery Platoon attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment in preparation for an upcoming deployment in support of the Black Sea Rotational Force based in Romania.

One week after their assignment to CAC Platoon, the artillerymen participated in a weeklong field exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, May 11-15. The objective of the exercise was to test the Marines' ability to come together as a unit.

"The most important takeaway from this exercise will be for the Marines from Bravo Battery to learn how the Marines from Charlie Battery operate, and vice versa," said 2nd Lt. Jared M. Hollis, the fire direction officer for the platoon and a native of Apex, North Carolina.

Hollis said it is important for Marines to recognize the importance of building relationships with one another. During the exercise, Marines will be evaluated on how well they come together and perform as one unit.

"It's important that our men work together efficiently because of the manpower and trust it takes to operate the Howitzers," said Sgt Jordan A. Travieso, a section chief with the unit and a native of Eustis, Florida. "The gun line is the heart and soul of artillery and without the guns, we wouldn't be artillery. Our capabilities, versatility and the effective casualty radius of these guns make us essential to any mission."

Travieso said if one person doesn't perform well, it could alter the outcome of the mission, which is why it's crucial that the men learn how each member of the team operates.

"The job we do requires us to collaborate with other units all the time, so cohesion is nothing new to these men," said LCpl Patrick A. Taylor, an assistant section chief with the unit and a native of Buckingham, Virginia. "On deployment, we might be asked to mark a target to help our aircraft pilots carry out their mission or to create smoke screens that allow our infantry units to move in or out of an area undetected. The misconception is that artillery just blows stuff up, when in reality, we do a lot more behind the scenes that allows other units to do what they need to do."

Taylor said his favorite part of the exercise was getting to know Marines from the other battery and seeing his new section come together in the short time they've been in this unit.

"We're a family, and the brotherhood bonds we form within this community often times last longer than the time we serve in the Marine Corps," Travieso said. "We all speak the same language, so to say. We may come from different units, but they are all artillery unit. That mutual understanding, more than anything, is why we are so successful on the battlefield."

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