August 13, 2015 – MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina — Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment began a 10-day-long mortar course under the direction of the Division Combat Skills Center at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 10, 2015.
The course began with classroom instruction over the M224 60 mm Mortar Lightweight Company Mortar System in which they learned how to boresight, misfire procedures, and deflection changes for elevation.
“It’s basically to give the units a chance to get their guys out here and … teach them something new with some of the other aspects of the course that we have. It’s not just basic mortar gunnery, we go into different portions as well to give these guys something better to go back to their units with,” said Sgt. Aaron Snively, a mortar instructor with the DCSC.
Lance Cpl. Ryan Piehl, a team leader with the battalion, said that the course is important so that the Marines know how to conduct misfire procedures and how to apply correct sight data on the weapon. He also said that the mortars are one of the best indirect fire capabilities that the unit has.
Snively said that one of the most important aspects of the classroom time is doing correct boresighting because it helps take the deviation out of the sight so when the Marines conduct their live-fire training the gun is firing properly.
“Basically you’re going to take the boresight and put it on the end of the . What it does is help the gunner take out any error that’s going to be in the actual sight itself … so it’s not going to be off when shooting rounds down range,” Snively said.
Piehl said that one of the biggest challenges for new Marines coming to the course is taking their time and making sure they are conducting each step proficiently.
“A lot of it I would have to say is discipline, just disciplining yourself and doing the right thing the whole time instead of just skipping steps because that’s when you start making mistakes,” Piehl said. “You have to be open-minded and always want to learn more.”
Snively and Piehl said that both the instructors and Marines take away a lot from the training.
“They take away the one-on-one training,” Snively said. “The instructors go through and help them with anything they need so they have a better understanding of doing their job once they get back to their battalion.”
“ is helping junior Marines, inspiring them and showing them how to do their craft,” Piehl said. “This is their , this is their sole purpose … to be a mortarman.”