Marines practice firing from moving Humvees
Stars and Stripes June 29, 2003
TAEGU, South Korea — About 800 U.S. Marines wrapped up a month of battle training in South Korea this week, a stint that afforded them a rare chance to practice live-fire assault tactics from moving combat vehicles.
The Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., departed Pohang on Tuesday by ship for Okinawa. They’re on a training deployment to Okinawa, which included a month in South Korea under the Korean Incremental Training Program, or KITP.
The battalion held its training at the U.S. Army’s Warrior Base training complex north of the Imjin River and a few miles below the Demilitarized Zone.
They trained with about 400 South Korean marines.
For 1st Lt. Erik Cooper, the Army’s live-fire ranges meant a valuable opportunity for his unit, the CAAT Platoon of the 3rd Battalion’s Weapons Company. CAAT stands for Combined Anti-Armor Team.
“The Army has really good ranges up there,” said Cooper, the CAAT Platoon commander. “They’re something that my Marines had not seen, stuff on that level, mostly because they were armor ranges for using tanks and stuff, and that was good for my platoon, especially because my platoon is mounted in vehicles.”
CAAT platoons consist of Humvees mounting .50-caliber machine guns or TOW guided missiles. The vehicles typically ride out ahead as a scouting and covering force for the main body.
“We’re basically out in front of the battalion the majority of the time to provide that kind of feeling out of the battle space,” said Cooper, whose platoon practiced fire-and-maneuver tactics from vehicles.
For the leathernecks of the CAAT platoon, that meant assaulting the enemy by having vehicles move forward in a “bounding” maneuver that requires a lot of teamwork between Humvees. With both Humvees firing their machine guns at the enemy, one vehicle holds stationary while the other drives forward.
“The gunner would be up there shooting, and they learned from that, that you can’t really hit very well when you’re moving,” Cooper said. “But they learned the best way to do it, which is just to bound up successively: one vehicle stopped, shooting at the enemy, at the target array, and the other is moving up and he’s firing too.”
“Never before in my three years have I had a chance to put TOWs and machine guns on a range and utilize both at the same time,” said Sgt. Dan Bozek, a platoon member.
“We were in a mobile environment utilizing … three basic concepts — shoot, move and communicate,” Bozek said.
Cpl. John Chancey, a TOW gunner with the platoon, also found the live-fire ranges valuable.
“This was the first time I had ever done anything like that. Any kind of fire and maneuver range is excellent, ’cause that’s what you actually do in war — fire and maneuver. It’s one of the key principles of war, period.”