Sept 13, 2013 -- OJOJIHARA, Japan - Marines and sailors of Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, participated in live-fire artillery and small-arms training at the Ojojihara Maneuver Area in Miyagi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 2-7 in support of Artillery Relocation Training Program 13-2.
ARTP is a regularly scheduled training event that enhances the combat readiness of Marine artillerymen and supports the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
Through this training, the battery was able to improve its proficiency in convoy operations, fire missions and communications.
“We were focusing on readiness, speed and stealth in setting up in the middle of the night to complete fire missions whenever they’re (issued),” said Gunnery Sgt. Alejandro Alaniz, the battery gunnery sergeant of Btry. C, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 3rd Bn., 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
The battery tested its ability to successfully complete fire missions issued by the fire direction center.The fire missions consisted of Marines attempting to launch a certain type and number of rounds in a specified time limit both day and night.
The battery also practiced its ability to employ howitzers using a combination of modern and traditional techniques, according to 1st Lt. Victor H. Hernandezgaytan, the battalion executive officer. The variations require using the howitzers’ optical sights and aiming posts coupled with digital calculations for correct emplacement direction.
Working and operating at night does not change any emplacement or firing procedures, but it forces everyone to be even more cautious, according to Alaniz. To be stealthier when moving through the night, the battery enforced noise and light discipline during the six firing days.
“We’re not always going to be in an enemy-free area, so we have to do what we can to make sure we don’t give away our position,” said Alaniz. “We don’t want to give the enemy a chance to use counter-battery (detection) before we can get some shots off.”
The Marines improved their proficiency and instilled a renewed sense of confidence when displacing, emplacing and firing at night, according to Cpl. Cameron L. McAllister, a battery section chief.
“This training definitely got the Marines more proficient in their military occupational specialty,” said McAllister. “The different climate and weather (from the often rocky terrain of Hawaii to the soft dirt and mud of the Ojojihara Maneuver Area) gave us a bit of a challenge, but we pushed through it which helped give us more experience to round us out.”
The battery has proven itself able to function effectively at night through the success it had changing positions and being able to rain fast and accurate artillery rounds down on targets, according to McAllister.
The challenges overcome by the battalion have made it stronger and more ready to fight, according to Hernandezgaytan.
“As a commander or leader, you always want to see your Marines grow in their abilities, and I was able to witness that during this training,” said Hernandezgaytan.