LAR platoon performs vehicle, weapons maintenance
CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, apan -- The section chief screams the command, “Fire!” After a slight pause, a thundering rumble echoes across the training area.
Marines with Light Armored Reconnaissance platoon, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted maintenance and weapons checks on their new light armored vehicles March 5 at Camp Schwab.
CAB recently acquired eight new LAVs and took them out for training to ensure the vehicles and their weapon systems were fully functional.
The Marines with LAR platoon are currently assigned to CAB under the unit deployment program.
“The new vehicles will be used by the LAR Company, which is slated to activate with CAB in May,” said 2nd Lt. Maxwell W. Nauta, the platoon commander. “The mission of LAR Company will be to provide a forward element of support in the Asia-Pacific region.”
LAV drivers complete maintenance checks each time an LAV is operated, a process consisting of checking the oil and ensuring there is fluid in the brake lines and tires are appropriately inflated. Secondly, the driver will check tire heat during stops to ensure the tires are within the correct operating temperature. Lastly, the first two steps are repeated once the LAV arrives at its destination.
The maintenance checks play an important role in the break-in process of new vehicles, during which the LAVs are carefully function checked to ensure proper operation, according to Staff Sgt. Andrew M. Eichelberger, an LAV crewman and section chief with the platoon.
Following the final maintenance checks, the drivers safely positioned the vehicles to fire the weapons systems. The LAV crewmen assigned as gunners and assistant gunners began firing at targets with the M242 Bushmaster, which is a 25 mm chain-fed auto-cannon, and the M240C machine gun.
“We use the improved thermal sight system to ensure precision sight alignment,” said Nauta. “When you set the sights on the target, it accounts for wind and vehicle movement. It is a very accurate sight.”
After ensuring the weapons systems and vehicles functioned properly, the vehicle operators were given an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the weapon systems, which enables them to assume the position as a gunner and man the weapon. Training with the weapons system now also gives them an advantage if they attend the gunner’s school later in their career.
“In addition to the weapons and maintenance checks, we are training the operators to fire the M242 Bushmaster to expand upon their proficiency and confidence with the weapons at their disposal,” said Gunnery Sgt. Daniel E. Steele, the platoon sergeant.
When the day’s work drew to a close, all weapons and vehicles performed their functions without fail, according to Nauta. The unit was pleased with the outcome and performance of the unit’s Marines and new equipment, according to Nauta.