MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conducted fire support operations during Large Scale Exercise 2014 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 9-10, 2014.
LSE 14 is a bilateral training exercise being conducted by 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade to build U.S. and Canadian forces’ joint capabilities through live, simulated, and constructive military training activities.
“[Company F] was performing fire support operations in support of the MEB,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Turello, a fire support team leader and infantry officer with Company F. “The reason was to help the Marines understand what it’s like to bring all of these (fire support) elements together that they might not have integrated before.”
Fire support operations are conducted by a fire team that calls for attacks on distant targets through the use of air support, mortars and artillery. In a Fire Support Team (FiST), there is a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), a fire support man and an artillery forward observer, said Turello.
“During [LSE 14], we used fixed wing air support and indirect fire with artillery and mortars from outside of our regiment that were given to our company,” said Turello. “Instead of using them one at a time, my team has each asset engage a target at different times. We manage all of these assets so it increases our combat power on the enemy.”
The operations conducted helped Marines get more experience with working together in a joint environment with combined-arms.
“The training is important because it’s such a large exercise and we don’t usually get this opportunity,” said Sgt. Denton Raabe, a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) with the company. “Every moment we get like this is better training because it’s more real world application.”
Because so many units participated in this LSE 14, communication was a necessary key for mission accomplishment.
“Communication is always the biggest obstacle that the FiST has to face,” said Raabe. “We have to constantly strive to make sure that our radio signal is excellent. If that means moving positions multiple times in order to support the ground element with calls for fire, then that’s what we have to do.”
Only good feedback came from Marines of 2/7 because there were so few difficulties during the operation, and it helped them realize the importance of their job and where they fit in during a large scale operation, said Turello.
“This training helped 2/7 as a FiST to work with other units outside of the company,” said Turello. “It was a great learning experience, and I know that the Marines gained a lot of knowledge from it.”
Overall, the Marines who participated in the fire support operation during LSE 14 got the job done and they accomplished more than just a two-day operation.