MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (April 10, 2008) – Inside the confines of the armory of 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command are a group of dedicated Marines, working hard to learn the intricacies and maintenance of the Special Operations Forces specific weapons used by their fellow Marines and Sailors of the battalion. These weapons are used by servicemembers who deploy to conduct special operations missions requiring exceptional amount of skill and precision. The missions are often highly sensitive and of great strategic importance.
The weapons used by these special operators are the tools they trust to save each other on the battlefield. The armorers of 2d MSOB know this all too well and remind themselves of it daily, as they work to keep these weapons in the best condition possible.
“Those weapons are their primary line of defense,” said Staff Sgt. Erick A. Horsley, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the 2d MSOB armory. “If you don’t have them running, the operators have no way to fight back.”
When armorers enter the Marine Corps, they do their initial military occupational specialty training at the small arms repair course in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Once armorers come to 2d MSOB and other U.S. Special Operations Command units, they have the ability to attend the Joint Armorers Course in Crane, Ind., where they spend two weeks learning about the SOF weapons they will be charged with maintaining.
“It was an enjoyable course because you get a lot of knowledge from very good instructors,” said Horsley. “I got to learn about weapons I had never even seen before.”
According to Horsley, he frequently holds presentations on weapons in the armory to keep his Marines knowledgeable and up to date on new additions. The presentations also serve to refresh their knowledge of equipment they have used for a longer time. Much of the presentations and course material that Horsley used while attending the Joint Armorers Course is now used to help teach his Marines.
“We’re here to keep those weapons running so they can save their life or somebody else’s life while in battle,” said Horsley.
Upon getting orders to come to 2d MSOB, Horsley said he was excited that he would be able to work with weapons that were exclusive to USSOCOM units, and to learn more about his MOS.
“I have always liked working with weapons,” explained Horsley. “I like working with SOF weapons because they’re new and genuinely fun to work with.”
According to Horsley, he is proud of the Marines he works with and the important work that they do. The weapons they employ with require a particular amount of care and knowledge, and he is confident that the Marines who work in the armory have the skills and dedication to ensure the operators will get the tools they need to be successful on the battlefield.