VAZIANI AIR BASE, Republic of Georgia -- Marines and sailors assigned to the Black Sea Rotational Force 13 participated in a live fire range today with soldiers of the Georgian army during exercise Agile Spirit 13 at Vaziani Air Base in the Republic of Georgia, March 19, 2013.
Marines from BSRF-13 taught Georgian soldiers the characteristics of Marine Corps infantry weapons systems before giving them a chance to fire them. The Georgian soldiers practiced with service rifles, light and heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, and rockets
“Very rarely do we have the opportunity to use a range this big,” said 2nd Lt. Philip Hanf, from Pasadena, Ca., platoon commander of 1st Platoon, Easy Company, BSRF-13. “In the coming days, we’ll learn how they operate on the squad and platoon scale.”
The service members engaged targets as far as two kilometers on the range, becoming accustomed to firing the weapons in basic courses of fire. This acclimatization will help serve both services in the future in joint operations, as their knowledge of each other’s weapons systems and tactics allows them greater flexibility and comfort operating with each other.
“We’re doing this range as part of Agile Spirit, with the bilateral training. We get some hands on with their weapons and they get some hands on with ours,” said Capt. Thaddeus Haltom, commander of Easy Company from Crawfordsville, Tenn. We learn how they do things, and we get to build camaraderie while we do it, said Haltom.
“The training events here, and using the live ammunition, are really beneficial for the Marines and the Georgians,” said Sgt. Douglas Pruden, squad leader with Easy Company from Dublin, Ca. “It’s really helpful for all of us to see the capability and effect of each other’s weapons.”
“They’ll be working with Marines downrange,” said Hanf. “The more they’re used to it, the better things will go down there.”
“It was tricky at first,” said Pruden. “The language barrier can make things difficult. But you can tell they’re a very professional military that’s been around the block. I have a lot of respect for these guys.”