Story by Cpl. Michael Dye
“We are out here firing 80mm mortars and 61mm mortars,” said Cpl. Brian Walsh, a squad leader with the unit. “We’ve been using the direct lay method of fire, and have not been using the Fire Direction Center.”
The Fire Direction Center is someone who computes the target’s information like location and grid coordinate and relays the information back to the gunman.
A mortar is a weapon that fires explosive projectiles onto a target. Typical mortar teams consist of a gunner, assistant gunner, squad leader and an ammo man.
“The direct lay method is one of the most exciting ways you can fire mortars as a squad,” said Walsh. “It’s all up to the Marines to make their own adjustments because they are not relying on a person from the FDC to give them corrections.”
This training is useful for the Marines because it allows them to train like they are in combat. In combat it is possible that they may not have someone telling them what corrections to make; they must make the corrections on their own.
“Doing this type of training is also a lot more gratifying,” Walsh said. “When you see that round impact on the target that you wanted, and you know it was all your work that did it, it’s a great feeling.”
Marines can utilize mortars for a variety of scenarios, including engaging enemy troops, attacking tanks or even bombarding structures.
With new Marines joining the unit, the Marines took the time to ensure that all their junior members had a working knowledge of how to operate the weapon systems accurately and quickly.
“These Marines did very well,” Walsh said. “It was very hot outside, but these Marines showed me that they can function as a team and operate this weapon under extreme conditions. They have shown that they can apply what they have learned at the School of Infantry and bring it to the [Fleet Marine Force].