MARCH 25, 2015, FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Marines with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division gear up for the competition Top Gun during exercise Rolling Thunder aboard Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 7, 2015.
The purpose of Rolling Thunder is to exercise, assess and improve the regiment’s ability to shoot, move and communicate in a field environment while demonstrating to the supporting commanders the capabilities and effects the regiment provides to the rest of the division.
“Our mission is to conduct accurate, live-fire exercises in the impact areas,” said Cpl. Joshua Flores, the assistant chief for Fox Battery and native of Camas, Washington. “I make sure everything is squared away as best as it can be so my team lead doesn’t have all the work thrown on his shoulders; it’s a team effort.”
Fox Company conducted Table 3 during the early phase in Rolling Thunder to develop marksmanship skills prior to beginning the artillery portion of the exercise, which involved demonstrating safety and strategy techniques necessary to complete fire missions.
“Being here, it’s a fast paced environment. [I] got a lot to learn in a short amount of time,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy Wilson, a field artillery cannoneer with Fox Battery and a native of Buena Vista, Colorado. “It’s a lot to take in, but I’m doing the best that I can.”
Top Gun will be graded by how efficiently batteries competing execute the safety guidelines while maintaining accurate hits on the designated target location.
Constant communication is vital during the competition to make each fire mission as efficient as possible. Each Marine has to ensure that the other members of the team are aware of everything going on around them.
“It’s my responsibility to focus the projectile and ensure it’s going downrange,” said Flores. “The other duty I have is to record data, ensuring we receive the firing mission accurately from our fire direction center and turning it over to the section chief so we can shoot on target.”
While the overall mission of Rolling Thunder is to prepare Marines for combat operations, Top Gun provides an opportunity to claim bragging rights through friendly competition.
“We are good to go and are proficient in our job, the faster we can put the round downrange the better,” said Wilson. “Fox Battery is ready for Top Gun; everyone will see what we can do.”