Marines from Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment’s “Kings of Battles,” fire off artillery rounds from their M777 Lightweight 155mm howitzers during Spartan Fury aboard the Schofield Range Facility. (Image courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Jesus Sepulveda Torre)
Marines with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment’s, “Kings of Battles,” conducted live-fire sustainment training during Spartan Fury, an annual pre-deployment exercise, aboard the Schofield Range Facility on May 4th, 2016.
Spartan Fury is one of three annual battalion level exercises to help improve sustainment training for future deployments. The objective of this five-day exercise is to support 3rd Marine Regiment by providing direct and indirect artillery strikes.
Master Sgt. Timothy Harvey, the operations chief for 1st Bn., 12th Marines, said Spartan Fury began with a beach raid at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows where Marines simulated an amphibious landing.
“Our mission was to hit certain training objectives as a battalion,” said Harvey, a China Spring, Texas, native. “This training helps us become a better fighting force.”
He said despite challenges such as adjusting to updated communication equipment, the field operation showed exceptional results.
“We mostly used high-frequency radios, but we started to switch over to satellite communications, meaning, we basically talk from across the island, which isn’t very common,” Harvey said. “The reaction and following of orders was quick and our rounds landed right on target.”
He said the annual training has become second nature, but has made his Marines more lethal than before the training began.
“Being more responsive, more accurate and more lethal really shows our Marines’ combat capabilities,” Harvey said. “This is what we love to do and we’ve gotten much better in the four days we’ve been out here.”
Cpl. Kyle Kuschner, an artillery sensor support man with 1st Bn., 12th Marines, said he helped his Marines with the communication equipment during the live-fire exercise.
“My section went over how to conduct a counter-fire mission order using an advanced field artillery tactical data system, which helped to provide automated support for planning, coordinating, controlling and executing fires and effects,” said Kuschner, a Manitowoc, Wisc., native. “This exercise was a good training experience for both the Marines on the gun line and the Marines supporting them.”
Spartan Fury is one of three annual battalion level exercises to help improve sustainment training for future deployments. (Image courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Jesus Sepulveda Torre)
He said Spartan Fury provides a great opportunity for the Marines to become more proficient in their roles.
“Since the beginning of this exercise, we have been executing all orders accurately and getting things done in a timely manner,” Kuschner said. “Even with all the little things we covered today, it made a huge impact and will certainly show on future exercises and deployments.”
1st Lt. Ian Collins, the battalion fire direction officer for 1st Bn., 12th Marines, said Spartan Fury and similar exercises help prepare Marines for future combat deployments and keep them at a constant state of readiness.
“This training is applicable because when we execute any type of movement, the battalion as a whole seeks to coordinate command and control efforts, specifically amass the battalion for complex fire missions,” said Collins, a Portland, Ore., native. “During this exercise, all forward deployed forces are expected to meet and exceed the standards. They exceeded all expectations and it will show in future movements.”
He said the experience gained from Spartan Fury is always beneficial, especially to his junior Marines.
“I wanted my Marines to (become) familiar with the radios, establishing the communication chain for other units at headquarters and the firing batteries,” Collins said. “They also had to perform much more efficiently, and as a team, they had to process the information provided, adjust for fire missions and get ready to send shells down range within a minute and a half.”
He said the Marines performed their duties with lethal precision and accuracy, which shows the possible outcome of applying this training in a real combat scenario.
“Today’s training definitely helped in improving my Marines’ combat capabilities,” Collins said. “While challenging at times, this training will pay dividends to the future when some of the younger Marines go to combat. My Marines are always ready to take the fight to the enemy. If we were to deploy tomorrow, we would be ready.”
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