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Marines test combat readiness prior to deployment

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The MCCRE tasked Marines to perform in scenarios as if they were in a deployed environment. Scenarios included setting up M777 howitzers to establish a firing position, completing fire missions and breaking the howitzers down to move to different locations.

“Out here we need to train like we fight,” said Sgt. Joshua Mellen, a field artillery section chief with the battalion. “I’m making sure that my Marines’ mindsets are always combat mindsets; to them, this is not Camp Lejeune – it’s overseas.”

This type of training is critical for Marines to ensure that they are ready to fulfill the mission they are given while deployed. In order to support infantry Marines on the ground, artillery crewmen need to make sure that they can set up, and sight in, at a moment’s notice.

“We need to make sure we can meet the standards,” said Cpl. Mitchell Williamson, another section chief with the battalion. “We need to know that we are capable of firing and also emplacing and displacing our systems in the times that have been specified for us.”

During the training, time and readiness standards had to be met to ensure the Marines could effectively set up their equipment and engage simulated enemy positions. The 10th Marines Artillery Training School was on sight evaluating the Marines’ performance to confirm they were ready to deploy with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and to efficiently use the skills they have learned.

“The MCCRE is very important training for the Marines,” said Mellen. “If we can meet all the deadlines and standards set – to call for fire and support whichever units need us, then I have faith that we can carry out any mission in the future.”

Story by Pfc. Taylor Cooper

US Marine Corps video by LCPL Bethanie Ryan

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