PUHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii --
Marines with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay conducted a live fire training night shoot here, as part of their Crew-served Weapons Package, May 29.
“Our training is to see if we can stay awake at night, and engage the enemy effectively when thrown in different scenarios while being fatigued,” said Sgt. Nathan Bretz, a machine gun section leader with Weapons Co.
Despite the cold raining windy horrid weather conditions at night, the Marines completed their objective and accomplished the mission of providing security through the night till dawn as they manned their positions with their .50-caliber rifles, M-240s, M-249 light machine guns, and M4 assault rifles.
According to the Bn CO, a big part of successful completion can be attributed to the noncommissioned officers of the company, who have been allowed a more hands-on approach to lead their troops, a goal the battalion is trying to achieve by empowering it’s NCOs to interact with their junior Marines more and ensure they are doing everything correctly, whether that is in the field or out in town.
“This has been the best machine gun training I’ve done in a very long time, we have a lot of flexibility doing things out here,” said Bretz. “Things have run very smoothly and that can be attributed to having good people at both the top and bottom.”
Given the amount of trust placed upon the Marines, they have not disappointed.
“My NCOs surprise me every time with what they come up with, I tell them my intent and they create ways to accomplish the mission,” said, 1st Lt. Abraham Webb, Combined Anti-Armor Team 1 commander, Weapons Co.
Training like this is essential to the Marines, not only does it help them stay tactically proficient, but allows them to build trust with each other and use their prior knowledge to find different ways to get the job done.
“There are too many people that are too good at what they do here,” Webb said. “In order to trust the Marines in combat, you have to be able to have that same trust in training first.”
“Training here is amazing, I think it’s one of the best places in the planet,” said Lt. Col. Matthew W. Tracy, Bn CO, a firm believer that allowing his NCOs to come up with their own ways to accomplish the mission, while keeping their commander’s intent.
“They’re creative geniuses, the things they come up with are crazy,” said Tracy.
Part of this comes from these leaders spending more time with their Marines on a day-to-day basis.
Weapons Company made strides during their training at PTA on the Big Island, a direct result of both leadership from the top to bottom and the initiative NCOs are taking to keep their Marines proficient in every way possible.