Photo Information

Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, watch the impacts of rounds fired at a virtual target during training at the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 5, 2015. The Marines practiced the fundamentals of marksmanship while firing on stationary and moving targets in a virtual battlefield. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sullivan Laramie/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Sullivan Laramie

2/2 maintains readiness on simulated range

5 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Sullivan Laramie II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, improved their proficiency with machine guns on a digital range at an Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 4-6, 2015.

The training allowed Marines to gain familiarity with various machine guns in a controlled environment without expending live ammunition and dealing with costs and logistics of moving ammunition and personnel to live-fire ranges.

“The biggest advantage of the ISMT is its accessibility,” said 1st Lt. John Sanko, the commander of Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon. “We’re using the virtual training to nail down our fundamentals and get marksmanship gunnery down while being able to learn in a kinetic environment.”

The weapons at the facility are powered by compressed air, which gives them reduced but similar recoil and noise. The difference in the weapons’ handling serves as a stepping stone for less-experienced Marines.

 “We’re familiarizing all the younger Marines who have just come in and haven’t had the opportunity to shoot,” said Cpl. Steven Petruska, a vehicle commander with the unit. “It’s important to lessen the shock. We take small steps forward into everything we do in the Marine Corps, so we change little things to help Marines succeed at the next level.”

Misfires still occur and the Marines are sometimes forced to stop shooting so they can fix the problems they encounter. The weapons may not be real, but realistic training is the focus of the ISMT.

“The Marine Corps emphasizes combat marksmanship over just going out and shooting,” Sanko said. “As infantrymen we need to be able to hit what we’re aiming at. Being able to come here as frequently as possible and constantly improve our marksmanship improves our overall proficiency as a unit.”

The ISMT lets Marines do more with less, and scenarios in multiple facilities can be connected, which gives units the opportunity to train alongside each other and interact within the virtual battlefield in various environments.

“Ammunition allotments are going down because of the cutbacks,” Petruska said. “Logistically, the ISMT is easier than going out to a range or going to big events throughout the county. It’s easy to get into the ISMT, easy to get into it for a long time and it’s a great tool.”