FORT BRAGG, N.C. --
Every time a Marine or sailor leaves the confines of a base in Afghanistan, they are prepared to become embroiled in a firefight with enemy forces at any given moment.
To re-energize their ‘shoot-to-kill’ mindset before deploying to Afghanistan, the Marines of Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, recently lit up the Convoy Live-Fire Ambush Range at Fort Bragg with more than 58,000 live rounds. The range was just one aspect of a larger training exercise held at the Army base designed to prepare the battalion for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
To minimize the potential for accidental discharges and unintended injuries, the Marines previously trained with blank rounds and received numerous safety briefs before the live-fire range commenced. The company successfully completed the training without any incidents.
Capt. James Fuller, company commander, Transportation Support Company, CLB-2, 2nd MLG, said safely shooting off rounds at the extensive range is about more than just putting a check in the box for pre-deployment training; it is a prime opportunity to ensure the Marines stick to the basics of training to kill.
“The mindset is the most important thing we will take from this training. I want the Marines to be offensive and aggressive when we are out there because essentially we will be hunting the bad guys,” he said.
The range, with a perimeter of three kilometers, offered an array of awkward turns that were difficult for Marines as they maintained positive identification of their targets and awareness of their surroundings and other vehicles.
Gunnery Sgt. Michael Poe, Motor Transport operations chief for CLB-2, 2nd MLG, said the training is the closest thing they will get before deploying, other than the training they are scheduled to conduct at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.
“This is the most important training they will receive because this is what they will actually be doing when we get to Afghanistan. Before we get there, they need to know how to shoot, communicate and acquire targets while moving expeditiously,” he explained.
Poe previously deployed to Somalia in 1994, to Iraq in 2004 and to Afghanistan in 2009. He said of all the pre-deployment training he received throughout his 17-year career, training at this live-fire range is among the best.
“This course has everything we need for optimum training. The rocky, curving roads intersect the sectors of fire for our gunners and the terrain makes it difficult to establish positive identification for every target. Live-fire courses are a must for any Motor-T and combat logistics Marine to become more efficient in their job,” he added.
The safe and successful execution of the live-fire range gave the company commander a great deal of confidence as he prepares to lead his unit into combat. Although they still have more training to complete before they hit the ground in the Taliban-infested country, he expects his Marines to perform exceptionally.
“I am very proud of these guys,” he said. “The first burst of effects while moving is what really impressed me. Their heads were really on a swivel during this training and everyone from the private first class up to the platoon commanders were very engaged in the training … it was the real deal.”