POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii --
A voice comes over the tactical field radio sending a command the artillery Marines are waiting for.
Instantaneously, Marines on the gun line suit up in their personal protective equipment gear and position themselves to start the loading and firing processes of the M777 155 mm howitzer system and M327 120 mm mortar system.
Approximately 240 Marines with Headquarters, Bravo and Charlie Batteries, of 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment conducted battalion combined-arms, live-fire exercises with the M777 155 mm Howitzer and M327 120 mm mortar systems during Operation Spartan Fury 14.2 at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, March 14 through 17.
The exercise is designed to keep the battalion operationally ready by maintaining and increasing the proficiency in artillery operations in each Marine. During the CALFEX exercise, Marines in each battery maintained training and readiness standards which they previously completed in the operation.
“We’re currently in the battalion centralized phase of Spartan Fury 14.2,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Stevens, the guns platoon commander for Bravo Battery, 1st Bn., 12th Marines and a 29-year-old native of Newtown Square, Penn. “It’s where the battalion as a whole can train to fight in a direct-support role for an infantry regiment.”
The operation also allowed Marines to further relationships with each battery and become the best functioning battalion possible.
“It’s essential for all batteries to work together throughout every exercise,” said Cpl. Joshua Reed, a field radio operator with Bravo Battery, 1st Bn., 12th Marines and a 24-year-old native of Polson, Mont. “Just from a radio Marine point of view, we get into a rhythm and understand what to expect from other operators on the radio. We learn each other’s voices and habits on the radio and as we hit our peak of the exercise, the communication amongst all agencies is seamless. Without efficient communication, we cannot operate at our best. I take my job very seriously because every mission needs to be completed the right way. ”
“During the initial stages of Spartan Fury the battery operated in a decentralized capacity,” Stevens added. “Bravo Battery fired more than 900 rounds of 155 mm ammunition, specifically training to the training and readiness standards, as an evaluation prior to the unit deployment program in June. In the latter stages of 14.2, the battery is expected to fire another 700 rounds during the battalion centralized portion of training, an aspect of that allows the battalion to train to the expectations of supporting a full infantry regiment during combat operations.”