“We apologize for the noise, but this is training to us,” said Col. James P. McDonough, commander, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
Over 1,000 Marines and Sailors, mostly from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are shaking up Bragg during the month of March for their annual exercise, Rolling Thunder. The 10th Marine Regt. is conducting artillery training at battery, battalion and regiment levels, which ends Friday.
“This is our big exercise, our deployment for training and we utilize all the ranges that Fort Bragg has to offer,” said McDonough. “We also have a reserve unit involved in this training as well.”
The purpose for exercise Rolling Thunder is to combine arms and fire support training and enhance unit cohesion and proficiency. During the exercise, Marines are shooting machine guns, participating in squad attacks and artillery training.
The noise that rattles residents’ homes throughout the community during the day and night comes from the 155 mm howitzer.
“We’re going to shoot a couple thousand rounds of artillery out here — this is the highlight of our training to be able to train at the regiment level,” said McDonough. “We have to be able to train day and night to fight the enemy.”
There are different components making an exercise like this a success, including fire support specialists, cannon crew members, field artillery automated tactical data systems specialists and ammunition technicians, who communicate amongst each other to complete various training tasks.
“Communication is the biggest part of artillery.” “Without communication we would not be able to send rounds down range,” said Lance Cpl. Shane Ross, an ammunition technician with India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. When asked what is his favorite part of his job, he said, “making things go boom.”
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series on the 10th Marine Regiment training on Fort Bragg.