Browsing: Weapons

It was a matter of time. Marines in Afghanistan recently launched Operation Jaws, an effort to root out the Taliban in Zamindawar, an area of northern Helmand province that has been a hotbed for insurgent activity. The operation was headed by 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and ran from May 25 to June 9, according to this new Marine Corps news release. They targeted an area of Kajaki district that I wrote about several times while embedded there in April. As outlined in this previous story, Marines had been observing insurgents in Zamindawar for quite some…

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZEEBRUGGE, Afghanistan – The job was called in like many others: “We’ve got a mortar mission now!” yelled Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, the platoon sergeant for the fires team here. With that, a handful of Marines with Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., scrambled through the darkness Sunday night to an 81mm mortar tube on this mountainside base in Kajaki district, Afghanistan. A small group overseen by Cpl. Wesley Neville, a squad leader, launched a series of illumination rounds over a rocky ridgeline and lit up the sky. The rounds exploded in…

Marines looking to appear a bit taller may just need to pick up their guns. Holding a gun could give the illusion of a boost in height and muscle mass, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles. Participants were given photos of men’s hands holding various items. They were asked to judge the man’s height based on the photos. Those holding guns or large kitchen knives were conceptualized as more physically imposing — taller, with bigger muscles — than those holding more mundane items, like a paintbrush or caulking gun. The study,…

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga., an Army post about 90 miles south of Atlanta, were treated to a gargantuan BOOM recently by the Leathernecks who train there. An Army TV news correspondent starts her report by saying the U.S. Marine armor school detachment there,  “made history… by detonating some of the largest explosions Fort Benning has ever seen.” A group of combat engineers was having some fun… er, conducting a training exercise with their mine clearing line charge, known as the MCLC and pronounced mik-lik,  from their assault breacher vehicle and set off the kind of awesome explosion that makes…

In this week’s print edition of Marine Corps Times, there’s a story about the full rollout of M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles to the fleet beginning early next year. I won’t give it all away here, it’s fair to say dozens of battalions will receive the weapon in coming months following Commandant Gen. Jim Amos’ decision last summer to approve full fielding. With that in mind, we invited a representative from Heckler and Koch, the maker of the IAR, to Marine Corps Times last week. Along with Rob Curtis of the Military Times Gear Scout blog, I got a look at…

Last week, Marine Corps Times outlined how the deaths of four Marines in Afghanistan in a one-month period were under investigation. It looks like an explanation may be emerging for how one of those deaths occurred. A Marine sniper was killed in combat Oct. 6 when a tank platoon mistook Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt and other Marines for enemy forces, Schmidt’s father said he was informed. The story was reported by the San Antonio News-Express, which is based in Schmidt’s hometown. From the story: Although a military investigation has not been completed, Schmidt said the Marine, who is stateside, told…

Earlier today, I hopped on the horn with Maj. Gen. John Toolan, commander of Marine forces in Afghanistan. We discussed a wide variety of issues for several forthcoming articles in Marine Corps Times, but there’s at least one piece that I wanted to report today. Noting that the initial deployment of Marine tanks to Afghanistan was high-profile, I asked the general what the current unit downrange — Alpha Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. — is doing. One answer: Helping Marine snipers lay insurgents to waste. The unit is now partnered with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, deployed…

Quietly, the Marines of Alpha Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, have joined the fight in Helmand province, Marine officials said. The unit replaced Delta Company, 1st Tanks, which became the first U.S. forces to operate tanks in the Afghanistan war earlier this year. Delta Company returned home to Twentynine Palms, Calif., late last month, but the mission rolls on. To date, not much has been shared publicly about 2nd Tanks’ mission. It is clear that they’re in northern Helmand province and attached to Regimental Combat Team 8, which oversees operations in Sangin, Musa Qala, Kajaki, Now Zad and other districts. In…

UPDATE: The Marine Corps Times cover story on the IAR is now posted online here. The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle was approved for full fielding recently by Commandant Gen. Jim Amos. Marine Corps Times profiled the decision in its print edition last week, outlining what it means for each fire team, rifle qualifications and the gear Marines bring to war. The decision is a big deal to the Corps, but until now, no photographs of the IAR in Afghanistan have been released. That’s where Marine Corps Times photographer Tom Brown comes in. Below, you’ll find images shot on patrol last…

This week’s Marine Corps Times cover story outlines a change that has been debated for at least a decade: Dumping the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in favor of an infantry automatic rifle. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos recently approved the change, allowing full fielding of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. It’s a possibility that has been widely discussed in the last few years, but we lay out what it will mean for infantry units, rifle qualifications and those snazzy polymer magazines that Marines love, but won’t be able to take downrange anymore. The 5.56mm IAR will become the new standard for…

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