CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Target spotted … at a distance of 1,000 meters it waits. A Marine sights in on the objective, plans to fire and takes the shot.
The servicemember was not in a shooting position looking through a scope. This was all done through a computer screen and a push of the button.
Approximately 40 Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducted a live fire exercise with the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, here, April 18.
“It feels like I’m in a virtual reality game when operating it,” said Sgt. Christopher R. Miller, a New Cumberland, Pa., native and digital (multi-channel) wideband transmission equipment operator with the battalion. “It is just like a video game.”
The CROWS allows the servicemember to remain protected in a military vehicle while firing at the enemy and still maintaining positive identification on the target.
The CROWS will be provided for the CLB-6 Marines when they deploy to Afghanistan in the near future.
“I have been on two deployments and the CROWS have saved many lives,” said Donald O. Nelson, a Somerville, Tenn., native and training specialist of the CROWS. “It is designed for the Marines not to be exposed and save their lives by keeping them in an armored vehicle.”
The CROWS is divided into four sections, the display control panel, control grip, weapon station and main processing unit.
“I definitely can see a lot further with the display control panel,” said Miller. “You can focus a lot better on the target you are about to engage on.”
Before firing the CROWS, the Marines with CLB-6 participated in approximately 40 hours of classroom instruction learning how to apply the .50-Caliber and M-240B machine gun to the weapon system, as well as the assembly, disassembly and nomenclature.
“I am very pleased with the Marines participation,” said Nelson. “They come in early and they are ready to work and learn. I have to force them to go eat because they are so interested.”
Finally, after a long week of classrooms and hands-on training, the Marines got to perform a live fire of the CROW.
Marines with CLB-6 used armored piercing incendiary rounds and 7.62 mm caliber rounds to fire at targets from distances between 397 meters to 1,000 meters.
“It was awesome firing it and feeling the high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle move from the recoil and seeing the rounds destroying the targets,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Morrissette, a North Providence, R.I., native and motor transportation operator with the battalion.
Marines spent approximately 7 hours of live fire exercises familiarizing and getting comfortable operating the CROWS.
“It was hard to get used to at first,” said Morrissette. “Once I started shooting and getting acquainted with it, I had no trouble with it.”