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MEU First to Use Improved Grenade Range

CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan - To give Okinawa-based Marines a place to keep their grenade combat skills fresh, Central Training Area officials recently renovated Range 3.


April 18, 2008
Marine Corps News|by LCpl Richard Blumenstein

Marines with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, currently serving as the battalion landing team for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, were the first to utilize the range and its renovated areas April 8.

The renovated portion of the range features such obstacles and targets as a vehicle, building structures and bunkers, which are all used for dummy grenade training. This area was built over an existing dummy range and supplements the nearby area used for live grenade training.

The dummy grenade area also has four distance and accuracy grenade layouts, which are used for scenarios based on the grenade combat readiness requirements for infantrymen, according to Gunnery Sgt. Robert A. Fuller, the maintenance chief and project coordinator for the CTA. The revamped range also contains several urban warfare training areas.

"Obviously you are going to be a little rusty if you haven't done this for a while," said 2nd Lt. Anthony Conticelli, the platoon commander for 1st Platoon. "This way they can develop that muscle memory before they throw the real thing. If you make a mistake with the plastic blue body grenade, you don't have to pay a price."

In addition to grenade training, the range is also capable of supporting M-18A1 claymore mine training. With the improved range areas available for use, the MEU Marines were able to use some of their time between deployments to sharpen combat skills by increasing their proficiency with grenades and claymore mines, according to Conticelli.

The training supplemented the pre-deployment training they received prior to attaching to the 31st MEU, Conticelli said.

"A lot of these guys haven't had the time to throw grenades because our work-up cycle on Camp Pendleton didn't permit it," Conticelli said.

Explosives, such as grenades and claymore mines, serve as an integral part of an infantry Marine's arsenal because of their ability to cause mass casualties to enemy forces, said Cpl. Marshall Kennedy, a 3rd Platoon squad leader with the company.

The Marines practiced explosives tactics, techniques and procedures with simulated grenades and simulated claymore mines to build confidence and refresh their skills before training with live ordnance, Kennedy said.

"It's not hard to teach a Marine how to throw a grenade," Kennedy said, reflecting on the importance of live grenade training. "But it's a different feeling when you are holding a live explosive. One of the things we do as infantry Marines is constantly train for combat, so things like knowing how to throw a grenade stays fresh in our minds."

Marines chanted, "Thumb clip, pull the pin, turkey peek, throw and take cover," while throwing both the simulated and live grenades, to help them move through the motions of deploying the ordnance.

Having ranges like Range 3 available for training is instrumental in keeping Marines combat ready, Conticelli said.