1/12 conducts mortar training, preps for deployment
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Marines with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, fired 120mm rounds from the M327 Expeditionary Fire Support System Oct. 7 during one of the battery’s training and readiness evaluations at Schofield Barracks’ newly re-opened ranges.
The gun sections were evaluated on timeliness of their fire support, weapon emplacement, and the amount of time that it took each section accomplish a fire mission. This was the battery’s first training and readiness evaluation on their M327’s despite having them since July 2012.
Despite difficulties with rainy weather, the Marines successfully completed the evaluation. The regular evaluation was conducted to ensure that the Marines are staying capable to conduct fire missions, prior to their deployment to Okinawa.
“The evaluation is to make sure that we’re up to par, and combat ready,” said 1st Lt. Eric VanHorn, fire direction officer and platoon commander with 1st Bn., 12th Marines. “Our training went very well.”
The training on Schofield Barracks marks the first time artillery Marines have been able to train on the island of Oahu in more than a year. Typically, the artillery units travel to the Island of Hawaii to conduct training at Pohakuloa Training Area, which had been the only location in the state of Hawaii where artillery units could fire prior to the reopening of the ranges on Schofield Barracks this year.
Before, the unit found difficulty training more often than most artillery units across the Marine Corps.
“Anywhere else, (artillery batteries) can go down the road and train, except those in Japan,” VanHorn said.
Although the previous circumstances gave them less time on their guns, many Marines from 1st Bn., 12th Marines don’t see this as a hindrance, but rather, an opportunity.
“Even though a lot of (other units) are quicker on the gun, we take advantage of our situation,” VanHorn said. “We have gotten better at the embarkation process. If we were ever called to deploy, I guarantee that 1st Bn., 12th Marines, and the (3rd Marine Regiment) would be ready to go and embark. We have to embark and disembark every time we have to go. That’s where we are really an actual expeditionary force that can go at any time.”
Now as the Marine Corps makes its rebalance to the Pacific region, 1st Bn., 12th Marines is supporting the effort with their upcoming deployment to Okinawa.
“We’re going over to Okinawa to bolster the force and readiness,” VanHorn said. “The Asia-Pacific is a new focus, and as the Marine Corps we want to be able to react and maintain our capability to fight at a moment’s notice.”