Photo Information

Camp Atterbury, Ind. - A foot-mobile M98A2 Javelin team fires at a target down range during their Reserve forces drill period training, March 15, 2014, at a firing range on Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Center. Firing a javelin missile is a rare opportunity for the Marines, considered by many to be a once in a lifetime practice shoot. The Marines are with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.(Marine Corps photo by Cpl. J. Gage Karwick/released)

Photo by Cpl. J. Gage Karwick

2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment combine arms for live-fire training with Air National Guard

18 Mar 2014 | Cpl. J. Gage Karwick

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment participated in live-fire, combined-arms training March 15, 2014 to hone their skills in call-for-fire exercises alongside the 163rd Fighter Squadron, Indiana Air National Guard. Though the Marines train together often, the chance to perform their combined-arms tactics is a rare opportunity. The exercise forced the Marines to think on their feet, assessing the changes on the battlefield and adjusting accordingly.

“We don’t get the opportunity to bring everybody to the same location and train like this,” said 1st Lt. Kyle Jacobs, Fire Support Team leader with Company F, 2nd Bn., 24th Marines. “We can call in notional air any time of the day, but we rarely get the chance or opportunity to see the natural errors that develop on the battlefield (involving air strikes) and work to overcome those things. That is the piece of the puzzle that you are missing if you don’t actually get out here and do it.”

The Marines worked alongside the Indiana Air National Guard for months to make the training event possible.

“We touched base with the Marines several months ago,” said Air National Guard Maj. Matthew Perkins, the commander of Joint Forces Air Corps Headquarters Detachment 1.  “They put in a request for the 163rd fighter squadron, out of Fort Wayne Indiana, and asked if we could assist in a live-fire exercise here.”

For three months, the services worked side by side to bring all the elements of the combined-arms training together.           

Fire-support teams, which assist each unit by calling out target coordinates to hit, pulled the combined-arms portion of the training together. The Marines worked with FiST teams and integrated with members of 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, to call in simultaneous air, artillery and mortar fire.             

“This is the first time we have had planes dropping ordnance here at Atterbury and it is great to get live training and see how it all pans out,” said Cpl. Thomas Judge, a forward observer, 81mm mortars, 2nd Bn., 24th Marines.           

When the munitions had been depleted, the effects of the training became apparent.           

“What is unique about this is that it lets us do combat-realistic training,” said Maj. Karl Blanke, commander of Weapons Company, 2nd Bn., 24th Marines. “We integrate munitions coming off of aircraft simultaneously with the mortars and that is really the way we seek to employ all of our supporting arms and multiple weapons systems engaging the same target at the same time, ensuring that the enemy is going to lose no matter what they do.”           

Each service took new lessons away from the range that will allow them to become more proficient in their respective mission capabilities.           

“This goes a long way to getting to our end state, which is combining and massing fire on the enemy,” said Perkins.