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Marines from 1st Stinger Battery, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing move sea bags last week to prepare for a deployment to Wake Island.
Marines from 1st Stinger Battery, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing move sea bags last week to prepare for a deployment to Wake Island. (Martin R. Harris / Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marines from Futenma Marine Corps Air Station are leaving today for a two-week deployment to Wake Island for training.

Marines from Marine Air Control Group 18’s 1st Stinger Battery are heading to the historic island to conduct annual training required by the Marine Corps, according to Maj. Tracy Peacock, 1st Stinger Battery commanding officer, in a release.

Peacock said Stinger gunners are required to fire a live Stinger weapon at least once a year to maintain their qualifications for their jobs. They will shoot a total of 30 Stinger missiles and 25,000 .50-caliber machine-gun rounds.

The Stinger is a surface-to-air infrared/ultraviolet guided missile. It can be either shoulder-launched or fired from an Avenger, a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle with a mounted turret.

Before any live missiles are fired, Peacock said, another unit will be lending his Marines a hand. He said a C-130 from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 - also from Futenma — will fly “profiles” to help the Marines prepare.

“These profiles closely proximate what the gunner may encounter in combat,” Peacock stated in the release. “It allows the gunners to manipulate the controls of a trainer version of the Stinger missile in order to track aircraft flying maneuvers to defeat the missile.”

Once the training to prepare the Marines for the live-fire is complete, the unit will use all of its “organic equipment,” including thermal night sights and the M3P machine guns mounted on turrets of the Avenger.

Peacock said the entire training package is critical for his Marines. “The training allows my gunners to maintain proficiency with the weapon system,” he said. “This proficiency translates into readiness to defend assets assigned to us by the combatant commander on the battlefield.”

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