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Marines with Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve fire a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System during their annual training at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., June 1, 2016. The surface to surface missile system can accurately engage targets over great distances. With high volumes of lethal rocket and missile fire, the HIMARS delivers precise strikes from over 40 miles away. The Reserve component has one of the two HIMARS detachments in the Marine Corps.

Photo by Cpl. Gabrielle Quire

14th Marines train with one of Corps’ deadliest rocket systems

10 Jun 2016 | Cpl. Gabrielle Quire Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Storm clouds circled in the Oklahoma sky over Fort Sill, threatening rain yet again. In the distance, a voice calls out, “fire mission!” Shortly after the countdown begins, a rocket shoots across the sky followed by a distinct vapor trail. A thunderous boom echoes across the valley after it breaks the sound barrier, and the sky releases the flood gates upon Battery F, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment.

The Marines of Battery F, 2/14 were conducting field operations with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, one of the military’s deadliest weapon systems at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for their summer annual training exercise, “Iron Rage,” May 28-June 11, 2016. The exercise tested command and control proficiency at platoon and regimental levels in conjunction with other batteries from 14th Marines in Alabama and Texas.

The HIMARS is the Marine Corps’ most advanced artillery system, and 2/14 is the only battalion in the Reserve Component and is one of two HIMAR detachments in the entire Marine Corps

“Training with HIMARS is important for 2/14 so we can give the geographic combatant commander or the supporting Marine Air Ground Task Force commander the support and access to surface-to-surface missile fire capabilities,” said Lt. Col John Lehane, the 2/14 Inspector-Instructor. “That’s relevant and in demand in the world today and it makes Marine Forces Reserve credible and relevant when they’re needed.

The HIMARS can accurately engage targets over great distances with high volumes of lethal rocket and missile fire and deliver precise strikes from over 40 miles away. The weapon system is mounted on a truck and has the ability to provide fire support for Marines fighting in any clime or place.

“It’s a system we can use to get in close with the enemy where our aircraft have difficulties,” said Capt. Spence D. Slaymaker, Commanding Officer, Battery F, 2/14. “This gives the Marine Corps the capability of destroying systems that endanger our aircraft without actually getting close enough to be in danger.”

Technology always advances and changes the way we wage wars. In the artillery community, HIMARS are the weapons of the future. According to Staff Sgt. Clark S. Hefflefinger, operations chief for Battery F, 2/14, HIMARS could change the way the military looks at artillery.

“It’s different from conventional warfare. What they help us do is take out high value targets without having to get too close,” Hefflefinger said.

HIMARS may be the most advanced and relevant artillery platform that exists in the 21st century offering the longest firing range that the Marine Corps has access to along with the ability to precisely select targets and limit collateral damage. The fact that the Reserve Component has the ability to employ this weapon system is another example of how it effectively augments, reinforces and supports the total force.

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