By Lance Cpl. Kimnerlyn Adams, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Marines with 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion participated in an annual stinger exercise on Fort Irwin, California, Aug. 10.
During this exercise, Marines fired 60 stinger missiles at remote controlled airplanes. The Marines split into fire teams for the exercise. Each team is equipped with personal weapons, a stinger missile and a Humvee with a mounted machine gun.
“We are the only unit in the Marine Corps that provides ground-based air defense,” said Capt. James Arnold, operations officer with 3rd LAAD, and a Mobile, Alabama native. “Our primary weapon system for that mission is the stinger surface-to-air missile and this is our one shot each year to do a live fire with that.”
Marines spent four days preparing and one day conducting the live fire exercise in the fields of Fort Irwin, the national training center (NTC).
“Our job is to provide ground-based air defense in support of special assets and this training allows us to actually utilize a live stinger missile and shoot it,” said Cpl. Tyler Parr, a gunner with 3rd LAAD, and an Amberg, Wisconsin, native.
According to Arnold, the Marines with 3rd LAAD enjoy this type of unique training.
“I think this field ops, being up here at NTC, has really changed things up for us,” said Parr. “Coming here boosted morale and got the guys a little more excited.”