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Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Griffith, ordnance maintenance chief assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), loads the .50-caliber machine gun on a M88A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 15, 2012. The weapon system on the HERCULES allows Marines to remotely aim and fire the weapon from inside the safety of the cabin by utilizing a mounted camera on the weapon system. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013.

Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels

Marines field test safer turret system

15 Sep 2012 | Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels

Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fired a new cupola turret system for their M88A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 15, 2012.

The HERCULES fired at mechanical targets alongside a separate familiarization training exercise CLB-26 was also conducting.

“That cupola is actually the same cupola they have on the turret of a tank.” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Griffith, CLB-26 ordnance maintenance chief. “They put that on because you had to man handle our old one. This one is under power and it’s got a three, six, and 50-powered thermal sight on it. It is mounted and you fire it from the inside.”

Safety is always paramount in anything the Marine Corps does, especially in a life-threatening situation like combat.

“Everything is electronic so you can safely fire from the inside,” he said. “ You have a trigger inside which hits the butterfly sending rounds downrange.”

Along with safety, the remote controlled turret has other features giving Marines a tactical edge.

“This system gives us more accuracy,” said Griffith. “It’s on a very firm platform and obviously having those sites allows you to see further downrange and better identify your targets.”