8th ESB Marines Live-Fire Exercises SR8 Machine Gun Range
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The following is a release from Cpl. Tyler Andersen withII Marine Expeditionary Force:

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marines with Engineer Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion (8th ESB), 2nd Marine Logistics Group, conducted a live-fire training exercise at the SR8 multipurpose machine gun range at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 14-15, 2015.

Marines from various units within 8th ESB volunteered to be a part of the exercise, refining their knowledge of the M240B medium machine gun and the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun. For many of the Marines, the opportunity to use these weapon systems does not occur often.

“My main priority as [a vehicle operator] is to work with trucks all day every day, and I don’t always get the opportunity like an infantryman would to use these weapon systems. So getting different Marines from different [military occupational specialties] to practice using these weapons is always important to the main mission,” said Cpl. Ted Bos, a motor vehicle operator with 8th ESB.

When on the machine gun range, the Marines were refamiliarized with all facets of weapons handling. They were taught the basic weapons conditions, practiced multiple safety techniques, and demonstrated to the instructors how to break down the weapons and how to keep the weapon systems properly maintained before and after use.

“Every Marine is a rifleman and they all need to know how to operate the weapon systems,” said Bradley Marsh, a motor vehicle operator with 8th ESB. “If a situation occurs where something goes wrong with a weapon, and they need to correct it, there won’t be any hesitation or second guesses.”

The hard work, time and effort put into the training helps the Marine Corps maintain mission readiness consistently by providing Marines with knowledge and experience, and strengthens their ability to work effectively in real situations by maintaining unit cohesion, according to Marsh.

“When everybody gets together for an opportunity like this, it helps us to become more of a family; with all the MOS’s together, everybody becomes closer, and you learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Bos.

When the Marines leave the range, they will take what they have learned back to their shop and share their experiences.

“Take advantage of the opportunity if you get it because when you do deploy, you want to have this knowledge with you,” said Bos.

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