Camp Lejeune certifies new live-fire range

Marines in action at Camp Lejeune (Courtesy: 2d Marine Division)

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WWAY) -– The Marine Corps has announced that Marine infantry units will now be able to conduct live-fire training on what they call “the newest and most intricate range on Camp Lejeune to date.”

Range Golf-36 (G-36) was certified on Saturday, Dec. 12, after a live-fire company assault conducted by Marines and Sailors in the Third Battalion.

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The Marines say that G-36 incorporates numerous range features which make it unique, and all the more challenging, for maneuver units than previous ranges on this sprawling military installation. A press release says that, for example, the new range provides unit commanders the opportunity to implement a variety of training scenarios and live-fire capabilities that will pit their Marines against an equal or even potentially superior adversary force.  

The majority of the current U.S. Marine Corps population has not seen a world where the U.S. was not the dominant force,” said division gunner Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joshua Smith. “As the Corps transitions to the peer and near-peer fight, we strived to produce a live-fire problem set which removes the three-to-one advantage the Marine Corps typically enjoyed,” he said. “With that, the range was also specially designed to take full advantage of Trackless Motorized Infantry Targets (TMIT) – aka, robotic targets. These types of targets offer a more realistic enemy – one that is not tied to a single point, but can maneuver across the battlefield, which causes friction to the attacking force,” Smith concluded.  

The new range also adds more complex terrain which is different compared with other live-fire ranges in Camp Lejeune.

“One of the unique things about this range is that we incorporated the environment. Typically, on most live-fire ranges, the trees are removed and the grass is cut in order to allow for the safe execution and supervision of live-fire training,” said Smith. “G-36 adds the environment as part of the problem. In parts of the range, the trees play into the problem, as it is harder to see some of the enemy – just as it would be in real life.” He continued, “There are targets that are placed in areas in which the unit can engage with rockets; however, (those areas) are obstructed by grass and trees, which makes the enemy harder to destroy.”

When asked about the vision behind creating G-36, Smith explained, “I believe this range will become the culminating event for 2d Marine Division’s Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE), which evaluates units deploying forward into harm’s way. One of the hardest actions for a unit to conduct is live-fire and maneuver at night.”

In time, according to Smith, conducting company-sized night live-fire assault training may become a consistent reality of this new range. The timing for such realistic training capabilities is certainly fortuitous, in view of the fact that new commanding general Maj. Gen. Frank Donovan has outlined as his number one operating principal, “The sustained generation of apex battalion task forces.”