Desert Talon: Sweat Hogs improve rifle skills with EMP training
By Pfc. Jason D. Mills
| | June 16, 2006
A box of empty brass is evidence of the rounds the Sweat Hogs fired down range during the enhanced marksmanship program training during Desert Talon.
YUMA PROVING GROUNDS, Ariz. -- During Desert Talon, a training exercise held aboard Yuma Proving Grounds Ariz., as part of their pre-deployment training cycle, the Sweat Hogs of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 enhanced their close quarters shooting skills with the enhanced marksmanship program.The enhanced marksmanship program taught the Sweat Hogs movements they can use effectively in close quarters. “In a confined space the success of the individual Marine depends on their shooting, their movement and their ability to communicate through teamwork,” Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Garity, the administration chief of MWSS-273. The course was offered to the Marines of MWSS-273 during Desert Talon so the Marines would be better prepared for their role while in Iraq.“Everybody who is going to Iraq needs this class because you never know when you are going to need it,” said Master Sgt. Henry Mason, the training officer for MWSS-273. The course taught the Marines how to properly maneuver strong and weak-side movement. The Marines are taught these maneuvers so if an enemy pops up around them, they can quickly and safely turn to either their strong or their weak-side and neutralize the threat.“The course is about instilling confidence in the Marines really,” Mason said. “It teaches the Marines some new maneuvers - but what it really teaches is confidence in themselves and the Marines around them. That is what is important when it matters.” The Marines also learned how to safely walk and fire all the while staying aligned. This allowed the Marines to see each other while firing, ensuring safety while firing in close quarters.“After learning these new maneuvers I feel more comfortable with the loading and unloading of my weapon in close quarters,” said Sgt. Lamonte McGee, an Incident Response Platoon Marine in MWSS-273. The program offers better real world experience then the normal rifle course that Marines get in boot camp, according to 1st Lt. Brandon Bores, an operations officer for MWSS-273.“It’s a lot more realistic,” Bores said. “Instead of taking 10 minutes to shoot 10 rounds from a 500-yard line under no stress it teaches you how to be 10 or 15 yards away and quickly fire two or three shots to stop and kill your enemy before they kill you. It’s a different type of shooting skill.”The course is not only for junior Marines, it also acts as a refresher to some of the more senior leaders who have already been to Iraq in the past.“This is my second deployment to Iraq and this is all new information to me,” McGee said. “But it gives me confidence knowing that my fellow Marine to my left and to my right has received the same training as I have.”