22d MEU (SOC) throws heavy guns at Capo Teulada
and photos by Cpl. Matthew Kell
TEULADA, Sardinia –The Marines of the 22nd
Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)
discovered that the rocky Italian training grounds covered
with knee-high spiny shrubs and grass was similar to Vieques,
Puerto Rico or Twentynine Palms, Calif. Not because of the
environment, but because the warriors could throw everything
they had into the recent weeklong Capo Teulada Fire Training
offered us the opportunity to use naval gunfire, mortars,
artillery and tanks in a combined maneuver area,” said
Lt.Col. Robert W. Marshall, executive officer, 22nd MEU.
The exercise kicked off with a full amphibious assault
launched from the three ships of the Nassau ARG, followed by
force-on-force simulated combat confrontation with the host
Italian 1st Armored Regiment.
were able to do a full amphibious assault using all the
assets of the Battalion Landing Team,” said Lt.Col.
Gilbert Desroches, the commanding officer of BLT, 1st
Battalion, 8th Marines. “It’s very hard to
coordinate an amphibious assault. The Marine Corps has
perfected it, but it’s very complicated to time everything
right and get all the assets ashore at the same time.”
Desroches, an infantry officer originally from Port Au
Prince, Haiti said the Italians were great because “They
were very appreciative of learning our tactics and
procedures at the rifle company level.”
A round is caught in the smoke
as Marines from the 81mm M252 mortar section of BLT 1/8 fire
rounds on Capo Teulada
force-on-force exercise allowed the BLT to function as an
entire unit, with the rifle companies, indirect fire assets
and mechanized forces coordinating against a “proficient
armored and mechanized force,” said Desroches.
A BLT 1/8 team leader fires
high-explosive rounds from his 40mm M-203 grenade launcher
kicked off the assault by playing the part of a
multi-national force sent to clear the Italian opposing
forces, a neutral but potentially dangerous occupation force
according to the scenario. After the disputed land was under
American control, the Italians became unruly and the
situation escalated into full-scale combat.
Range time was limited, so the force-on-force was kept to
|This ensured the
Marines had time to utilize the “crown jewel of Italian
range facilities,” said Marshall.
The MEU executive officer also pointed out the Italians
were very easy to work with because their range procedures
were very clear and straightforward. “Their procedures are
very similar to ours and that contributed to the success of
ranges allowed the MEU and ARG to fire all the weapon
systems organic to the blue-green team.
priority of the ranges was to fire the heavy weapon systems
of the BLT,” said Desroches. “This is the first
opportunity since we deployed for artillery, tanks and Light
Armored Vehicles (LAVs) to fire live rounds.”
enjoyed it because I’m actually doing what I’m trained
to do,” said Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) Gunner Cpl.
Stefan Feliz-Kent, from Kansas City. “I’m trained to
look through a site and send rounds down range.”
ranges not only allowed the Marines to get trigger time on
their particular weapon systems, it allowed the warriors to
see how they fit into the grand scheme of the battle.
Marines from the Light Armored
Reconnaissance detachment of BLT 1/8 fire the Light Armored
Vehicle's (LAV) 25mm cannon during live fire exercises on
the Italian training grounds
best part of this range is you get to see the other elements
shooting right along side of you,” said Pfc. Anthony R.
Alverez, pointing to the Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs)
only a few hundred meters from his 60mm mortar’s gun
position. “You can see their rounds impacting as yours are