An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Marines

Photo Information

U.S. Marines with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 234, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve begin onloading a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) onto a C-130J Hercules during a HIMARS Rapid Infiltration, also known as a HIRAIN, during exercise Arctic Edge 2024 at Eielson Air Force, Alaska, Feb. 24, 2024. The HIRAIN training demonstrated Marine Forces Reserve’s ability to rapidly deploy the HIMARS to meet and deter any threats in any environment, including harsh arctic environments. Arctic Edge 2024 (AE24) is a U.S. Northern Command-led homeland defense exercise demonstrating the U.S. military’s capabilities in extreme cold weather, joint force readiness, and U.S. military commitment to mutual strategic security interests in the arctic region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Madisyn Paschal)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Madisyn Paschal

Any Clime and Place: Fox 2/14 Marines fire HIMARS in subzero conditions during Arctic Edge 2024

7 Mar 2024 | Lance Cpl. Madisyn Paschal U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Against the backdrop of a snowy landscape and amidst the gusts of a biting wind, U.S. Marines with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve prepare to unleash rockets from a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during a HIMARS Rapid Infiltration, known as a HIRAIN, as part of exercise Arctic Edge 2024 (AE24) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 24, 2024.

The aftermath was that of charred earth, a stark contrast to the once-pristine snow.

True to the Marine Corps' philosophy of "any clime and place," the Marines showcased their ability to meet and deter threats in any environment by demonstrating the HIMARS' capabilities in harsh arctic conditions.

"With the adversaries we are facing now, this training is crucial due to the environmental challenges we anticipate,” said Sgt. Ronald Merritt, a HIMARS operator with Fox Battery. “Our focus is protecting our homeland and addressing any potential threats that may arise in close proximity to our homeland.”

In 1996, aerospace company Lockheed Martin developed the first HIMARS, which was modeled after the Army 510 chassis. After years of testing, the Marine Corps integrated them into units for training exercises in 2005. The HIMARS is the newest member of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launcher family, capable of simultaneously launching six rockets within a firing power of nearly 100 miles. In 2007, Fox Battery became the first unit to use HIMARS in combat.

"We can be rapidly deployed to forward positions, allowing us to process missions much faster than traditional artillery,” highlighted Gunnery Sgt. Jon Ohlman, a HIMARS operator with Fox Battery. “Our capability for long-range precision fires, coupled with our mobility using C-130 and C-17 transport, enables us to be swiftly positioned in areas of the battlespace that would otherwise be out of reach for conventional weapon systems."

The HIMARS weapon system is a crucial component of the Ground Combat Element (GCE) in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Its exceptional mobility and precision strike capabilities make it a valuable asset in arctic conditions, ensuring rapid deployment across challenging terrains for effective target engagement. It significantly contributes to the MAGTF's power projection, providing precision fire support, maintaining long-range communication and enhancing overall effectiveness and versatility.

“HIMARS have become more public, showing its accuracy and capabilities,” emphasized Master Sgt. Gerald Wendel, Artillery Unit Leader with Fox Battery. “Other units such as the Special Operations Force (SOF) are realizing how much of an asset HIMARS is and how precise it is.”

Arctic Edge 2024 presented Fox Battery with the opportunity to conduct a HIRAIN in extreme arctic weather for the first time. A HIRAIN involves the rapid unloading, reloading, and relocation of HIMARS to reduce the risk of detection and counterattack.

Ohlman stated, “We’ve been in mostly dry desert environments. Winter in Oklahoma is about as cold as we’ve been operating in until now.”

Winter temperatures in Oklahoma City, where Fox Battery is based out of, rarely drops below 17 degrees. The average winter temperature ranges from 31 to 58 degrees.

”As soon as we got the order that we were coming to Alaska, the Marines got excited because this is not somewhere we normally operate in,” said Wendel. “Anytime there's a new challenge for a Marine to overcome, it definitely creates a lot of excitement.”

“This training goes to show that a Marine can operate in any climate, any place. Whether it be a dry desert, a jungle environment, or a cold arctic climate”.Gunnery Sgt. Jon Ohlman, Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment


These austere conditions brought forth unprecedented challenges for the Marines. At one point the temperature plummeted to a bone-chilling -68 degrees. Given that the freezing point of hydraulic fluid is -10 degrees, the Marines had to conduct a “warm up.” This process involves engaging the power takeoff to run hydraulic fluid through the systems, warming them up and enabling proper operation.

“We learned a lot right off the bat,” said Capt. Colton Raab, Field Artillery Officer with Fox Battery.
“We had enough support from both the Army and our battalion regiment that we adjusted extremely fast and were able to perform.”

This exercise also enhanced collaboration by allowing the Marines to operate in tandem with several Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and joint units, including Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 234, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, and Marine Air Control Squadron 24 (MACS-24), Marine Air Control Group 48, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve and the Army unit, Apex Battery, 17th Field Artillery Battalion (FAB).

“Working alongside the FAB, we taught each other tips and tricks and bounced new ideas off one another,” Merritt states. “While conducting onloading and offloading drills for the C-130s, both launcher crews employed different methods, and this became a significant learning experience.”

With these different methods in mind, the two units engaged in a friendly competition.

Merritt continued, “We raced each other, doing each other's methods. We did our method, we would race. We did their method, we raced. It was a good time.”

This joint training not only contributed to improved tactics and coordination, but also boosted morale among the participating units.

“Coming here is literally the real Marine concept. Now that I've been in Alaska in the arctic, I've been in every clime and place,” said Wendel. “Operating in these types of conditions is proof of what the Marine Corps is capable of doing.”

United through shared challenges and victories, the Marines of Fox Battery have solidified an enduring connection, proving their capability to not only withstand but to thrive in the harshest of environmental conditions. As the training progresses, they further strengthen as a resilient force adept at adapting to extreme conditions, ensuring preparedness for potential conflicts in all terrains and climates.

Ohlman said, “This training goes to show that a Marine can operate in any climate, any place. Whether it be a dry desert, a jungle environment, or a cold arctic climate.”

Arctic Edge 2024 (AE24) is a U.S. Northern Command-led homeland defense exercise demonstrating the U.S. military’s capabilities in extreme cold weather, joint force readiness, and U.S. military commitment to mutual strategic security interests in the arctic region.

 

===============================

WHO WE ARE: The United States Marine Corps Reserve is responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals for mobilization to active duty in time of war, national emergency, and crisis or contingency operations. On a day-to-day basis, Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) consists of a talented and dedicated pool of nearly 100,000 Marines able to augment the Active Component in a myriad of ways, to include operational deployments, support to training, participation in bi/multi-lateral exercises with partner nations and allies, and service-level experimentation in support of Force Design 2030 and refinement of new concepts, tactics, techniques, and procedures.

MARFORSOUTH HQ HOMEPAGE
www.marforsouth.marines.mil/

MARFORRES HQ HOMEPAGE
www.marforres.marines.mil

FACEBOOK
www.facebook.com/marforres
www.facebook.com/marforsouth

INSTAGRAM
www.instagram.com/usmcreserve
www.instagram.com/marforsouth/

YOUTUBE
www.youtube.com/marineforcesreserve1

LINKEDIN
www.linkedin.com/company/united-states-marine-forces-reserve
www.linkedin.com/company/marforsouth/

TWITTER
www.twitter.com/marforres
www.linkedin.com/company/marforsouth/


More Media