Marines execute rocket battle drills at Fuji

Marines execute rocket battle drills at Fuji

Marines with combined anti-armor team conduct weapon familiarization training June 3 at the North Training Area at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji. It was the first time for many of the Marines to fire the AT-4 light anti-armor weapon. Photo by Cpl Adam B. Miller.

SHIZUOKA, JAPAN (June 3, 2013) - A convoy of Humvees travels down a gravel road in the countryside. In the distance, two armored vehicles come into view. "Hostile light armor identified, dismount and engage!" Two Marines quickly jump from their Humvee, acquire the target, and engage with an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon.

The Marines with combined anti-armor team faced this simulated scenario June 3 at the North Training Area at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji while executing combat scenario drills. During the drills, they dismounted their vehicles to engage simulated enemy targets with their AT-4 light anti-armor weapons.

"We wanted to incorporate rocket battle drills to better use our dismounts for combat operations," said Sgt Scott A. Howard, an anti-tank missileman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.

A rocket battle drill consists of two Marines dismounting from a Humvee, running up to the firing line, acquiring their target, and then engaging the target with the AT-4 weapon system, according to Howard.

"The AT-4 is used primarily to eliminate a light-armored threat," said Howard. "In a typical real-world scenario, Marines in a convoy would alert the CAAT of an approaching threat."

In order to eliminate the threat and reduce the risk of Marine casualties, two Marines dismount their vehicle and move into a safe and advantageous position to fire upon the threat, according to Howard.

This was the first time firing the AT-4 for some of the Marines involved in the training.

"The training we're doing here has been really valuable for us because we've never fired this weapon system before, and we have to be prepared for any battle situation," said LCpl Masami D. Rouse, a machine gunner with Weapons Co., 3rd Bn., 6th Marines. "It is absolutely vital that we are confident in our abilities and knowledgeable of all the weapons systems we use."

In addition to building confidence by using the weapon, the benefit of being in a combined anti-armor team comprised of multiple military occupational specialties brings different perspectives toward mission accomplishment, according to Sgt Chad W. Wooten, a machine gunner with Weapons Co., 3rd Bn., 6th Marines.

"I get to work with machine gunners, riflemen and anti-tank missilemen, who culminate into one capability that is the combined anti-armor team," Wooten added. "And we pack a heavy punch when we get on the battlefield."

The Marine Corps unit deployment program sees the rotation of U.S.-based units to III MEF for six months and is designed to provide the rotational units unique training opportunities while augmenting the capabilities of III MEF.

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