FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Military police, engineers, and transportation and land support Marines assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted convoy familiarization and a live fire at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 15, 2012.
“We are doing the multi-purpose range complex, convoy live fire,” said 1st Lt. Brett Rosvold, Barron, Wis., native and CLB-26 motor transportation detachment officer in charge.
The range at Fort Pickett allowed the Marines to utilize the training capabilities of a range not found at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
“We don’t have any moving and shooting ranges at Lejeune so it is a good thing to come out here to move and shoot, opposed to stationary shooting or lining up with each other,” said Lance Cpl. Mackenzie A. Storch, Loveland, Ohio, native and CLB-26 military police driver. “There are a lot of training spaces out here we can do a lot with.”
The exercise was split up into four different stages for the Marines, with multiple sticks to allow all the Marines at the range a chance to get the experience and knowledge of the training evolution.
“It’s going to consist of familiarization fire and a bounding exercise with mounted crew-served weapons – M240s and .50-caliber machine guns,” said Rosvold. “We will be driving medium tactical vehicle replacements and Humvees.”
The first stage was a dry run of the course. It showed the drivers of the convoy where they will need to be positioned and when and where they need to move. The second phase consisted of stationary fire followed by the third phases, a live-fire convoy focusing on moving and suppressive fire. In the fourth phase they got to expend the rest of the rounds not fired.
Twelve of the MTVR vehicles the unit has are armadillos, he said. It is a variable of the MTVR that has an inch of hardened steel providing Marines in the back of the vehicle an extra layer of protection.
Being proficient with the skills necessary to drive and defend a convoy is an essential mission task for these Marines to be confident with.
“We are going to be part of the motorized raid package for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” he said. “What we need to do is ensure our Marines are proficient with all the crew served weapon systems so we can provide convoy defense if deemed necessary.”
A common phrase to hear in the Marine Corps is complacency kills. Getting too comfortable in any given situation can result in a lax environment, often leading to a vulnerability that an opposing force can take advantage of and attack.
“Being here adds another aspect of training that we are not used to because if you keep doing the same thing over and over again with the same environment, you aren’t going to expect anything new,” said Storch. “When you come somewhere new, it makes you think more and makes you more aware of your surroundings, which will definitely help in a combat situation – in a place we have never been before. It teaches you to think and work at the same time.”
The pre-deployment training at Fort Pickett also gave other advantages not found in garrison.
“We usually don’t get these opportunities on base,” said Rosvold. “We don’t have to do all the administrative runs here, so we can focus on the training, and to be honest, we would never get this allotted ammunition. We would never get 9,000 rounds of 7.62mm … at once.”