They say the tenacity and marksmanship of the U.S. Marine Brigade so impressed the Kaiser’s troops at the battle for Belleau Wood in 1918 that the Germans tagged the Corps with a new nickname – Devil Dogs.
Today the tenacity is obviously still there but Marine Corps officials are concerned about the marksmanship – particularly when it comes to hitting targets on the run.
USMC Photo: Capt. Paul L. Greenberg
“The hit percentage is really bad against moving targets,” says Jean Malone, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and deputy director of the Experiment Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab at Quantico, Va.
Malone and other Marine Corps officials briefed a group of military reporters and editors, including me, from the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland last week, explaining about some of the latest developments in Marine Corps training and strategic thinking.
The Marines are exploring simulated battlefield conditions as a way to improve a number of infantry skills including: coordinating close air support and hitting a moving target.
“Simulation will play a greater role in our future,” says Malone, although he’s quick to add that simulation won’t completely replace live fire exercises.
The Moving Target Engagement program is testing a mobile simulator firing range at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The simulator, made by Laser Shot of Stafford, Texas, allows shooters using live rounds to fire at 3-D simulated targets on a screen. Laser Shot President Chris Chambers told me recently that the system combines the company’s Running Man training software with its Laser Shot Mobile Ranger, a self-contained, live-fire training facility.
For more on the Warfighting Lab and the Marine Corps Combat Development Command’s plans for the future see the Feb. 24 story in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report (subscribers only). Speaking of live fire, I’ll be posting some pictures I took of live fire demonstrations at Quantico on the Defense Showcase photo gallery soon. Please check back.