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thedrifter
08-23-09, 10:02 AM
LAR Cuts Up Kuwaiti Desert With Chain Gun
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Public Affairs
Story by Cpl. Justin Martinez
Date: 08.22.2009
Posted: 08.22.2009 05:22


CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – A small American flag waves freely on the radio antenna of "Red One" as it leads the charge though a parched, forgotten land. Behind the lead Light Armored Vehicle, several tons of steel rumble the earth as the platoon halts at its firing position.

Marines with Light Armored Reconnaissance Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted live-fire training near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 17-19, as part of the MEU's sustainment training.

LAV tires trench fresh tracks in the road to the first range where rusty, blown-out, double-stacked cars await further destruction.

"It's a very large area that's quite open with a lot of micro-terrain that we can use, and it allows us to actually maneuver as an entire unit," said Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Hall, platoon sergeant for LAR and a native of Phoenix, Ariz. "It's perfectly suited for our mission."

Kevlar helmets poke out of eight-wheeled, armored shells as the platoon prepares to employ a weapon like no other.

"The advantage of having the M242 25mm Bushmaster chain gun is that its 25mm rounds put a lot of fire power down range at a rapid rate," said Hall. "It actually is driven by an electric motor and the bolt itself is rotated on a chain."

Marines wiped the sweat that collected in the bottom of their goggles as they collectively searched the glaring Kuwaiti sand for low mounds with makeshift men clutching wooden weapons.

"We've had time to take the junior Marines out so they can experience what it's like for a platoon to move in a width over six or seven klicks," said Sgt. Andrew C. Wedde, a vehicle commander and a native of Berrien Springs, Mich. "Covering that much area was amazing to them. You can't see the vehicle next to you."

Wedde added that the training provided a great experience for the junior Marines because the range was uniquely suited for vehicle movements that they couldn't conduct at Camp Lejeune.

For three days, the men drenched their uniforms with sweat under the baking sun, learning things that make LAR a more formidable force to reckon with.

"They did very well, I was proud of them. It's been a long time since we've done anything like this," said Capt. Christopher D. Winn, the Platoon Commander and a native of Colorado Springs, Colo. "They exceeded my expectations."

In early August, elements of the 22nd MEU arrived at Camp Buehring, a U.S. Army Central Command/Area Support Group Kuwait owned training base. The MEU is conducting sustainment training and is currently serving as the theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command.

The 22nd MEU, led by Col. Gareth F. Brandl, is a scalable, multi-purpose force of more than 2,200 Marines and Sailors. The unit is composed of its Ground Combat Element, BLT 3/2 (commanded by Lt. Col. Robert C. Fulford); Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced) (commanded by Lt. Col. Paul P. Ryan); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22 (commanded by Lt. Col. Gary F. Keim); and its Command Element.

Ellie