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Archive for the ‘USMC’ Category

New Annual Rifle Qualification To Make Marines More Lethal

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

The Marine Corps began the train-the-trainer course of the new Annual Rifle Qualification, which will fully replace the previous Table 1 and Table 2 qualification course of fire Oct. 1, 2021.

The ARQ was designed to give a more realistic and “train like you fight” environment by emphasizing lethality and positional shooting. Improvements to the Marine Corps rifle training and qualification program have been under development since 2016.

The ARQ will further develop combat scenario shooting skills resulting in a more proficient fighting force. The service-wide entry-level rifle training will remain unaffected for recruits at both Marine Corps Recruit Depots and for officers at The Basic School in order to develop strong fundamentals, confidence and weapon comfortability.

“Dating back to the early 1900’s with only minor changes from its original form, the current annual rifle training qualification has been unchanged,” said CWO4 Anthony L. Viggiani, Marine Gunner, Training and Education Command. “This has been the same qualification that every Marine shoots throughout their entire career, until now. The ARQ enhances proficiency, confidence, and lethality in a dynamic environment using multiple targets, limited exposure targets, moving targets and shooting on the move.”

Marine Corps-wide implementation will take place no later than the beginning of fiscal year 2022, with active-duty forces transitioning by October 1, and Marine Forces Reserve transition in FY22. During the second and third quarters of fiscal year 2021, Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, will provide training and assistance on the conduct of ARQ to formal marksmanship training units in order to facilitate the transition to service-wide ARQ implementation.

The ARQ includes a three-day course of fire. Day one includes a “holds day,” with the drill portion conducted first. Days two and three are pre-qualification and qualification, respectively, where the destroy portion is conducted first with engagements starting far to near in order to foster an offensive combat mindset.

The more operational training requires Marines to conduct the course of fire in helmet and body armor but allows the opportunity to use bipods, rest the weapon on their magazine, or rest their weapon on their assault pack as long as time constraints are met. Scoring is measured by lethal effects with destroying targets in the allotted time.

“This enables the individual Marine the opportunity to engage their weapon system from multiple firing positions and find the most efficient way to utilize alternate shooting positions throughout the course of fire,” said Viggiani. “Our operating environment has changed over the years, so we had to make changes to our qualifications on marksmanship.”

Other significant updates include the incorporation of a singular target throughout the course of fire, with exception of a moving target at the 100-yard line, with a requirement to score by hitting “lethality zones” and the introduction of support barricades at the 100 and 200 yards, allowing Marines to shoot from the standing, kneeling, or supported position with stationary and moving targets. This transition from a competition style course of fire to assessing lethal effects on a target is a significant change for the ARQ.

Similar to the Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests, Marines must achieve a minimum standard in each portion of the course of fire to qualify in the overall assessment.

The implementation of the ARQ directly impacts the mission statement, “We must adapt our training in a manner consistent with the threat and anticipated operational challenges,” as stated in the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rachael A Treon, MCB Quantico Communication Directorate

US Marines Receive Improved Optic to Identify Threats from Longer Distances

Monday, March 1st, 2021

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.—Marines recently received an innovative new optic that better prepares them to engage adversaries from longer distances.

In January, Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons began fielding the Squad Common Optic—a magnified day optic comprising an illuminated and nonilluminated aim-point designed to improve target acquisition and probability-of-hit with infantry assault rifles.

The SCO can be attached to the M4 and M4A1 Carbine as well as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. It will supplement the attrition and replacement of the Rifle Combat Optic and the Squad Day Optic for each of those weapons for close-combat Marines.

“The Squad Common Optic provides an improved day optic to infantry and infantry-like communities, including reconnaissance units” said Tom Dever, project officer for Combat Optics at MCSC. “It’s a system that improves situational awareness and decreases engagement times, greatly benefiting Marines.”

SCO an improvement over RCO

The SCO enables Marines to identify targets from farther distances than the existing RCO system.

Roger Boughton, MCSC’s lead engineer for the SCO program, said the RCO has a fixed magnification, whereas the SCO provides a variable power. This means Marines can use the SCO to identify targets at both close and far distances, providing twice the visual range of the RCO.

“Having an optic that can reach out to longer distances will ultimately make the Marine a more lethal first-shot shooter,” said Boughton. “This means they can use less rounds to overwhelm an enemy.”

Maj. Kyle Padilla, MCSC’s optics team lead and an infantry officer, said the SCO is agnostic to the round and weapon system, which provides additional flexibility for Marines. This allows for movement to a different host weapon and accommodates the employment of the M855, M855A1 or future ammunition.

“It’s all about making an accurate decision,” said Padilla. “The SCO gives squad leaders or individual riflemen more time to make a decision to eliminate that threat if necessary.”

The system is also easy to assemble. The SCO includes a mount that prevents Marines from needing to carry tools to remove or exchange the optic, lightening the load for Marines.

“If you want to mount it onto the rail of the weapon, you don’t need a wrench to tighten anything,” said Boughton. “You just need your hands.”

‘A step in the right direction’

The SCO program moved rapidly from program designation to fielding in just 16 months. After awarding a contract, PM IW conducted various user assessments, including a simulated 10,000-round fire exercise, during production verification testing to confirm performance and resolve issues.

During these evaluations, Marines raved about the benefits of the SCO and its improvement over the existing system.

“Being able to shoot farther, identify targets at greater ranges and be more accurate will make them more lethal,” said CWO4 David Tomlinson, MCSC’s infantry weapons officer. “Marines have expressed excitement over this capability.”

CWO4 Gerald Eggers, the infantry weapons officer at The Basic School, participated in the system’s fielding in January, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He commended the scope’s variable power magnification as well as its ability to be employed with different ammunition and weapons.

“Marines with M27s will greatly benefit with this scope,” said Eggers. “I certainly believe the SCO fielding is a step in the right direction.”

Dever said the fielding of the SCO puts an improved capability into Marines’ hands more quickly and enables them to carry out their missions more efficiently and effectively.

“The rapid acquisition and fielding of improved capabilities is vital to equipping the Marine Corps to operate inside actively contested maritime spaces in support of fleet operations,” said Dever.

The program office anticipates the weapon reaching Full Operational Capability in fiscal year 2022.

Story by Matt Gonzales, Marine Corps Systems Command

Danner USMC Tropical Boots – Available Exclusively At PROVENGO

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Lightweight. Comfortable. Durable.

The USMC Tropical Boots are back in stock at provengo.com

Designed to withstand extreme tropical environments, they have become a favorite with Marines over the past 3 years. Top features include:
• Breathable, moisture-wicking mesh lining
• Cushion Element PU footbed for optimal airflow and drainage
• Nubuck leather upper with lightweight 1000 denier nylon
• Speed lacing system for secure, enhanced athletic fit
• Exclusive Vibram Panama outsole to increase traction in rough conditions

Provengo and Danner worked directly with the United States Marine Corps over the course of five years to perfect the functionality of the Tropical Boot. The boot design has been modified based on feedback from field tests and user evaluation.

The USMC Tropical Boot contract was awarded to Provengo in 2019 with a complete contract value over $13M+. Provengo continues to deliver Tropical Boots to the USMC with future option years remaining.

About Provengo

Provengo is a provider of personal, operational, tactical and lifestyle equipment to the Department of Defense and Federal/State Government Agencies. Provengo also offers Military/Veteran/Federal/LE/First Responder discounts at www.provengo.com

Simply register on the website for a government account to take advantage of these great deals at Create Account | Provengo. As an extra bonus, use coupon code SS2021 for $15 off your next purchase.

PARACHUTE OPERATIONS: Pendleton Marines Jump Out Perfectly Good Airplane

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. —

Marines with Air Delivery Platoon, Landing Support Company, 1st Transportation Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, coordinated a parachute operation at Drop Zone Basilone to refresh their Marines on low-level static line jumps and aerial resupply.

1st TSB invited other Pendleton units to participate in the training event, enabling Marines with 1st Marine Division and I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group with airborne and jump missions to gain proficiency and remain current with their jump training.

The aerial delivery Marines coordinated with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing to use a KC-130J Hercules as part of the training. In addition to the actual parachutists, the Marines loaded the aircraft with container delivery systems and door bundles to simulate a resupply.

“It’s important that we do this training, because it allows us to practice in rugged terrain and puts us in real-world environments that we can fine tune our skill sets in.”
-Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Bridges, 1st TSB aerial delivery chief

After taking off from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, the aircraft made several passes over the drop zone to line themselves up before doing the physical drop. Once the Marines jumped out of the aircraft, the supply bundles soon followed.

The air delivery Marines usually conduct two or three parachute operations each month to help maintain their proficiency. Being stationed on Pendleton, and having MCAS Camp Pendleton nearby, streamlines the planning process for each jump.

“Having the air station right here is crucial to us,” said 1st Lt. Amy Horney, the Air Delivery Platoon commander with LS Company, 1st TSB. “If we didn’t, if we had to go to Miramar or Yuma, or something like that, it would take a huge toll on the logistical planning that we have to do each time.”

All of the different training areas on Camp Pendleton also provide some advantages for the Marines, according to Horney.

“With Camp Pendleton being so large, there are multiple drop zones on the base,” explained Horney. “We can go all the way up north, we can stay down here by the air station. We can go toward different units to help them out and take less of a toll on their logistical planning. Camp Pendleton is definitely a golden site for us in order to do those two to three operations a month, in addition to all the other exercises we support.”

Story by Lance Cpl Andrew Cortez, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Photos by Lance Cpls Drake Nickels and Andrew Cortez

I MEF Information Group, NIWC Pacific Put Next-generation Technology to the Test

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group and personnel from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific conducted characterization testing of the Mobile User Objective System at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, on Camp Pendleton, California, in September 2020.

MUOS is a satellite communications system that provides voice and data communications for U.S. service members, anytime and anywhere in the world.

The testing supported PMW 146, the Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office, which reports to Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and Space Systems.

The focus was on three areas of satellite communications: susceptibility of detection and geolocation of MUOS transmissions; susceptibility of detection and geolocation of legacy transmissions; and the performance of the MUOS radio in the presence of in-band radio-frequency interference.

“The purpose was to test the capabilities of the system, in a field environment, in a manner that Marines employ the system,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Meser, the electromagnetic space operations chief at I MIG. “The testing allowed us to identify gaps and determine if the underlying issues were related to the equipment, training or procedures.”

Aside from testing various frequencies and equipment sets, one of the key takeaways from the event was furthering Navy-Marine Corps integration with the MUOS.

“This is part of supporting naval integration; being able to understand we are key stakeholders, both Navy and Marine Corps,” said Meser. “They provide the technical expertise, and we provide the field expertise.”

This is just one way that Marines with I MIG have been working side-by-side with the innovative minds at NIWC Pacific. During the past several months, I MIG Marines have provided hands-on feedback to help drive future research, development, test and evaluation, and engineering.

“Integration between I MIG and NIWC-PAC is good because we are able to provide them a firsthand look at how the equipment is employed in a real-world environment, which provides feedback to the engineers on how the system performs,” said Meser. “We are the end-users and being able to conduct a field-user evaluation further ensures the security and functionality of the equipment’s capability.”

Capt. Josh Gonzales, a space operations officer with PMW 146, said the participants operated the MUOS radios at various operational data rates in three data transmission types that included burst, flow, and stream. All three data types worked successfully and they were all clear and precise.

The results confirm the MUOS Wideband Code Division Multiple Access performed significantly better than legacy UHF in a contested environment. This is the second of three planned tests, the third test is planned for 2021, and will incorporate additional assets and more terminals to better simulate an operational environment.

Story by LCpl Isaac Velasco, I MEF Information Group

Marine Corps Begins Widespread Fielding of Suppressors

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marines risk their lives to protect others.

Many are trained to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. They engage adversaries in any clime and place, no matter how arduous the conditions.

Marine Corps Systems Command is tasked not only with enhancing the lethality of warfighters. The command also strives to protect them.

MCSC has taken another step toward increasing lethality and protection for Marines. In December, the command began the process of fielding thousands of suppressors to infantry, reconnaissance and special operation units for employment on the M27, M4 and M4A1 rifles.

Small arms suppressors are designed to reduce a weapon’s noise, flash and recoil. They are also time-efficient, as attachment and detachment only takes a few seconds. The mass fielding of the suppressors, and their myriad benefits, represents a monumental moment for the Marine Corps.

“We’ve never fielded suppressors at this scale,” said Maj. Mike Brisker, weapons product manager in MCSC’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons. “This fielding is a big moment for the Marine Corps.”

MCSC works with CD&I, PP&O

In recent years, the Marine Corps had already begun suppressing its M38 and M4A1 rifles. However, an increased number of commanders felt suppressing additional weapons would increase the overall lethality of the infantry.

The impetus for equipping additional weapons with suppressors came from a series of experimentations at a 2016 “Sea Dragon” event, which enables the Marine Corps to experiment with current and emerging technologies and operational concepts.

At the event, a battalion employed the suppressors as part of a Marine Corps Warfighting Lab experimentation.

“The positive feedback from that experiment was the primary driving force behind procuring suppressors,” said Brisker. “We’ve had a few limited user experiments with various units since that time, and all of those events generated positive reviews of the capability.”

Before acquiring the suppressors, MCSC worked with the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration; Plans, Policies and Operations; and the Fleet Marine Force to determine the optimal concept of distribution to support the close combat Marine.

“Our intent was to leverage commercially available technology to support the near-term modernization required for our close combat Marines,” said Billy Epperson, the Infantry Weapon Capabilities Integration Officer at CD&I.

Epperson added that the Marine Corps conducted Limited User Evaluations in 2019 with commercial suppressors provided by vendors showcasing the latest and greatest in technology to characterize requirements in support of an acquisition effort that began in fiscal year 2020.

In 2020, PM IW procured about 6,700 small arms suppressors through Defense Logistics Agency’s Tailored Logistic Program, and acquired more than 7,000 additional units on the first delivery order upon the contract award. Brisker said the goal is to field approximately 30,000 suppressors by fiscal year 2023.

How suppressors save lives

CWO4 David Tomlinson, MCSC’s infantry weapons officer, emphasized the importance of suppressors in exchanging information during battle. He said gun fights create a chaotic environment with intense noise levels, producing communication problems that can increase confusion.

“I would say the most important thing the suppressor does is allow for better inter-squad, inter-platoon communication,” said Tomlinson. “It allows the operators to communicate laterally up and down the line during a fire fight.”

Tomlinson said suppressors can save lives, as Marines engaged in battle can expose themselves from their firing position. The suppressor reduces their audible and visual signature, making it more difficult for the enemy to ascertain their location.

In addition to tactical advantages on the battlefield, the reduced noise of the suppressors also benefits a Marine’s long-term health, said Brisker. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, hearing problems are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American veterans.

“In the big picture, the VA pays out a lot in hearing loss claims,” said Brisker. “We’d like Marines to be able to continue to hear for many years even after they leave the service. These suppressors have that benefit as well.”

Tomlinson mentioned how the news of the fielding of additional suppressors has created a groundswell of excitement among the units receiving them. He believes the myriad advantages suppressors provide will benefit the Marine Corps for years to come.

“As I travel and brief units, this capability has generated the most interest—from lance corporals to colonels,” said Tomlinson. “There has been an overwhelming excitement to receiving the suppressors, which we anticipate will serve as an effective capability for the warfighter.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication, Marine Corps Systems Command

US Marine Corps photo by Sarah N. Petrock, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera

New USMC Doctrinal Pub – Competing

Friday, December 18th, 2020

The world is a much more complicated space than it was even just a few years ago. Multiple parties vie for influence. “Competing” was written to help Marines (and you, if you read it) understand how our military plays into this situation.

From the forward:

Western conceptions of the international struggle among nations (and other political actors) often use binary war or peace labels to describe it. The actual truth is more complicated. Actors on the world stage are always trying to create a relative advantage for themselves and for their group. Sometimes this maneuvering leads to violence, but the use of violence to achieve goals is more often the exception than the rule. Instead, most actors use other means in their competitive interactions to achieve their goals. The competition continuum encompasses all of these efforts, includ- ing the use of violence.

Get your copy here.

Marines Train with Dutch Counterparts during Exercise Coastal Caribbean Warrior

Monday, December 14th, 2020

SAVANETA, Aruba —

U.S. Marines with Charlie Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division recently traveled nearly 1,600 miles to conduct open-water and dive training with Netherlands Marines from the 32nd Raiding Squadron in Savaneta, Aruba, on November 7.

The training increases interoperability between the Netherlands Marine Corps and the U.S. Marines as they work side-by-side as partner nations. 2nd Recon Battalion, stationed on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, don’t often have the opportunity to work in tropical waters such as those of Aruba. To further develop the relationship between the two units, the Dutch Marines, will in turn, travel to Camp Lejeune in coming months to perfect their own tactics in a foreign climate and to perform myriad other types of training in the U.S.

“This is really a unique opportunity. The Dutch Marines’ subject-matter expertise in coastal tropics is invaluable to preparing us for combat situations in foreign regions.”

Capt. Joshua Foster, company commander of C Company, 2nd Recon Battalion

“The training circumstances here in Aruba are optimal,” said Netherlands Marine Corps Capt. Mark Brouwer, a Dutch exchange officer embedded with 2nd Recon Battalion. “We have everything in place here to train a lot better than we could’ve on Camp Lejeune. On top of that, the skills we teach to 2nd Recon, we do here on a daily basis.”

“This is really a unique opportunity,” said Capt. Joshua Foster, company commander of C Company, 2d Recon Battalion. “The Dutch Marines’ subject-matter expertise in coastal tropics is invaluable to preparing us for combat situations in foreign regions.”

The 32nd Raiding Squadron is regarded as an essential line of defense for the island of Aruba. Their effectiveness in conducting open water operations and their integration with their naval counterparts represent vital skills for 2nd Recon Battalion to hone. This bilateral training increases proficiency in a variety of skills necessary to complete their mission.

“There is nowhere else we could’ve trained with a full troop of Dutch Frogmen,” said Foster. “The environment here in Aruba is better suited to developing the skills that will help us in future operations, and it really helps us integrate with the Dutch who will be a really strong partner in the event we have to operate in Eastern Europe or the high North.”

2nd Recon Battalion completed a visit, board, search, and seizure training package as well as dive training, and a series of firing ranges. Being able to learn from the Netherlands Marines in their primary area of operations, helps 2nd Recon Battalion build a faster, more mobile, and more lethal force when operating in such diverse locations.

“The training is helping us build new unit operating procedures,” said Sgt. Zachary Palmgren, a team leader with 2nd Recon Battalion. “The water is clear so the dive teams can see what they’re doing and better build on the foundations they have. The VBSS training helps us integrate with the Dutch, and it shows us a more real-world application for the training we do at home.”

By working together, Marines from both nations developed a better understanding of how to implement new techniques. This type of bilateral training is critical, in particular when fighting in littoral and coastal regions. 2nd Recon Battalion’s mastery of these skills is paramount if they are to integrate effectively with their own naval counterparts.

By Lance Cpl Brian Bolin Jr., 2nd Marine Division