Marines from 1st and 2nd Battalion were sent to represent their batteries in the annual competition, where only one section would remain standing as the top gun section in the regiment.
The first morning started with knowledge stations covering a number of evaluations: combat life-saver skills practical application, radio assembly and communications, land navigation and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear testing.
Corporal Dakota H. Carter, a section chief with 1/10 Alpha Battery, said the sections enjoyed the knowledge stations because they were challenged to utilize skills they don’t often use.
Humidity set in as the sections began their nine-mile hike to the next event, the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer and a timed assembly and disassembly of small crew-served weapons, such as the MARK 19, .50 caliber and M240B machine guns.
“The competition was definitely about unit cohesion and to show [the Marines] the hard work you put in pays off in the end,” said Cpl. Tyler J. Jackson, a section chief with 2/10 Fox Battery.
Marines maneuvered a three-mile endurance course in sections, which tested their mental and physical resilience with obstacles and swampy terrain.
“Being a Marine requires you to be physically and mentally strong, especially in artillery because of the size of our weapons systems and the accuracy they require,” Jackson said. “I think this competition tested all of us to our limits and showed us that we can accomplish a lot if we work together as a section.”
Marines battled exhaustion and heat, and were tested with obstacles while trekking through sludge and water.
“I think the intent is to see who has the best battery under their battalion, who works together the best, so we can pass that around the regiment and train everyone to that standard,” Carter said.
The competition ended July 1 with a Howitzer M777 direct-fire challenge.
The sections had to rely on their skills to call their own fire at targets 750 meters away, instead of receiving calls from a forward observer. Each section fired eight rounds and was judged on accuracy and the number of targets hit.
Charlie Battery with 1/10, led by section chief Cpl. Sean Slaton, was declared the regiment’s top section at the end of the competition.
“When it comes down to it, knowing you all have each other’s back is a big thing, especially being on a gun line,” Jackson said. “Teamwork is important because you have to rely [on] the Marine to the left and right and be familiar with each other’s jobs in case someone goes down, otherwise the mission is not going to get accomplished. And that’s ultimately the goal: to get the mission accomplished and rounds down range.”
Story by Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad