CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- Training does not stop just because Marines are forward deployed. It is the goal of many companies to continue to hone their Marines’ skills on various weapons systems in between operational commitments and offensive missions.
Marines with Charlie and Weapons Companies, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, Task Force Belleau Wood, demonstrated proficiency while qualifying on the M1014 combat shotgun during range training at Camp Leatherneck, June 4. Ranges are often conducted on Camp Leatherneck for M16 rifles, M9 pistols and crew-served weapons systems, but this was the first time shotgun qualification training had been conducted here.
“The Marine Corps gives us all these tools, so it’s up to us to make sure Marines are proficient with those tools,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Wood, the platoon commander for 1st Platoon, Weapons Company, 1/23, TFBW.
The day began with classroom instruction, including functions and components of the shotgun, and assembly and disassembly procedures. Once the Marines had received their verbal guidance, they headed out to the range for some hands on, practical application.
“This training is the same as all weapons training,” said Wood, a Westminster, Colo., native. “Making sure Marines are capable with the weapons system gives us confidence to send them out with it.”
Some Marines were already familiar with firing shotguns. Lance Cpl. Brandon Walker, a tow gunner with 1st Plt., Weapons Weapons Company, 1/23, grew up hunting with shotguns in Leon, Kan., but even he said he benefited from the training.
Any training is beneficial because it keeps Marines’ skills sharp, Walker said.
He also said that by having formal classroom training, he would be more confident in sharing his knowledge and instructing other Marines on the usage of the combat shotgun.
Walker added that shotgun qualification gave security forces another tool to maintain safety and mission readiness on the base.