Marines blast into training
CAMP HANSEN - "Frag out!" The final warning sounds before a Marine throws a grenade and awaits the thunderous blast before clearing the smoke-filled room.
Marines with light armored reconnaissance platoon reviewed proper procedures for the use of the M67 fragmentation grenade by conducting live-fire grenade and room clearing training at Camp Hansen Sept. 14.
The platoon is currently assigned to Assault Amphibious Vehicle Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
Due to previous commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is the first time in several years that an LAR unit has been stationed on Okinawa. This is the first platoon to return to CAB, according to 2nd Lt. Evan S. Munsing, the LAR platoon commander.
"Being both a reconnaissance and infantry unit, the goals we strive for are strengthening room-clearing skills and sharpening mission readiness," said Munsing.
A future urban-breach course will be the final evolution for Marines to exhibit their knowledge of urban terrain tactics, including room-clearing skills learned during training.
"Our main focus is to clear rooms while using live fragmentation grenades and firing simulated ammunition from their assault rifles to better assess our (capabilities)," said Munsing.
As Marines prepared to enter a room, one Marine threw a grenade to shock simulated enemy, according to Lance Cpl. Riccardo G. Medrano, a mortarman with the platoon. After the grenade exploded, they methodically entered the room, ensuring all the corners were clear.
Although the Marines enjoyed the opportunity to train with several weapons, there was still a sense of nervousness when handling a grenade.
"It's always fun training with live ammunition, but I respect the weapon because of its damage capacity," said Medrano. "Thanks to this training, the platoon and I are (now) skilled handlers of the grenade."
The fragmentation grenade can be used for many missions and situations, according to Cpl. Jacob L. Swanson, a squad leader with the platoon.
"The grenade is not only used to cause damage, but also to shock the enemy and clear trenches or rooms," said Swanson.
Overall, when training to clear rooms, repetition and becoming comfortable with the highly-explosive grenades are critical to increasing the platoon's mission readiness.
"These training events prepare (Marines) to do an urban-breach course, where we use high explosives and live rounds to clear houses (and) breach doors and windows," said Munsing.