NEAR KARMAH, Iraq -- The ins and outs of an infantry platoon can be confusing to someone who knows little to nothing about the infantry. A weapons platoon can even have the most experienced Marines scratching their heads.
It is this mix of specific jobs that make Weapons Platoon, India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment so unique.
Within a weapons platoon there are riflemen, machine gunners, mortarmen and assaultmen. Depending on platoon operations, artillerymen may be added for manpower and firepower.
Riflemen are the core of the infantry. These “ground pounders” are trained to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and to repel an enemy assault by fire or close combat.
Machine gunners hold the fire power of a platoon. With big caliber, automatic weapons such as the M2 .50 caliber machine gun and the M-249 squad automatic weapon, machine gunners provide suppressive fire and are trained on the operations and mechanics of common machine guns used in the Marine Corps.
The mortarmen are aces when firing 60mm mortar rounds down range. They have an excellent understanding of how to be more effective in situations when bigger, long-range weaponry is needed.
Assaultmen deal with demolition and small rockets, such as the M163 shoulder launched multi-purpose assault weapon. They are experts in different types of demolition and the proper techniques of specific weapons within their arsenal.
With Marines qualified in many aspects of ground combat, a platoon with this amount of firepower is well prepared when tasked with any type of mission. Learning other jobs within weapons platoon is extremely beneficial during training, for future combat operations, and keeps Marines ready for anything they encounter.
“It’s not just rifleman we have trained,” said Cpl. Ian Abney, a machine gunner with weapons platoon, India Co. “We train Marines from every infantry job specialty there is.”
For some there may still be confusion about who’s who in weapons platoon. The exceptionally trained and equally modest Marines of weapons platoon simply say, “Being called ‘grunts’ suits us fine.”
Whatever you hear them being called, know that they - the Marines of Weapons platoon, India Co., are getting the job done.