East Fuji Maneuver Area in mainland Japan Sept. 17. Artillery Marines conduct critical training at Fuji --
EAST FUJI MANEUVER AREA, Japan — Marines successfully completed live-fire artillery training over the course of Artillery Relocation Training Program 12-2 at the East Fuji Maneuver Area Sept. 8-18.
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in ARTP 12-2 to sustain unit proficiency and enhance combat readiness in support of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
“The ARTP is important for the Marines because it allows them to perform live-fire training safely and accurately,” said Master Sgt. Thomas D. Veenstra, the field artillery chief for 3rd Bn., 12th Marines. “It also allows the battalion staff to exercise its ability to command and control the battalion in a realistic scenario.”
The howitzers are fired utilizing computational data from the fire direction center, where forward observers determine target locations the guns will fire upon and communicate those coordinates to Marines on the gun line, according to Veenstra.
“The section chief verifies and relays the information, fires when ready, and adjusts aim with feedback from the FDC,” said Veenstra. “The firing adjustments continue until the target is within effects of the rounds, when the batteries follow up with a fire for effect (mission).”
While the Marines practiced live-fire using modern digital technology to establish location and direction, they also practiced more traditional, manual methods of obtaining firing direction and targets, according to Lance Cpl. Terice T. Lawson, a field artillery cannoneer with the battalion.
“It’s like using the iron sights on your service rifle rather than the (optic),” said Lawson. “If you don’t practice with both, you won’t be as effective in situations where the digital technology is not functioning properly.”
Over the course of 10 live-fire training days, the Marines conducted battery-level, battalion-level and regimental-level live-fire exercises. The East Fuji Maneuver Area allowed the Marines to train in a different environment and climate, an opportunity which is critical to the battalion’s core mission.
“Artillery provides the maneuver commander all-weather, all-terrain fire support,” said Veenstra. “It gives him flexibility in his fire-support plan.”
“Our job is to protect and support ground forces,” said Lawson. “That’s why we have to move with speed and intensity. We practice all methods of fire, so that we can continue to support boots on the ground.”
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