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Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the 2nd Marine Division gunner, stares out the top of an assault amphibious vehicle during a live-fire gunnery range at Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 27, 2016. Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion spent the day refining their shooting skills by shooting the M-2 .50 caliber machine gun as well as the MK-19 40mm grenade launcher at various distances.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald

2nd AAV Bn. conducts gunnery range

27 Jul 2016 | Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with Alpha Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion spent the day refining their shooting skills during a gunnery range at SR-10, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 27.
The gunnery range entailed firing from assault amphibious vehicles mounted with M-2 .50 caliber machine guns and MK-19 40mm grenade launchers.
“Down range were Ivan targets, which we had to use the .50 caliber to take out,” said Cpl. Zachary Barrens, a vehicle commander with the unit. “They also placed hard targets such as trucks and bunkers that we used the grenade launcher on.”
The gunnery served as a qualification for the Marines as both AAV crews and individuals.
“When we drop (infantrymen) off, we have to ensure they can take their objective by providing supporting and suppressive fire, while they get to cover,” Barrens said.
With a maximum possible score of 1,000, the Marines were required to pass with at least 700 points. A gunner faced 10 separate engagements, worth 100 points each.
“The evaluators want to ensure the crews are communicating, the driver is spotting the targets and letting his gunner know, and the turret gunner hits the intended target in a timely manner,” Barrens said.
Barrens explained that the qualification range was conducted so that the crewmen not only understand the functionality of an AAV, but also the weapons systems that it carries.
“The AAVs are what set us apart from every other branch in the military,” Barrens said. “It’s what makes the Marine Corps truly amphibious.”

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