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Sand Storm

QAID RANGE, Djibouti — The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Light Armored Reconnaissance Platoon hit the Djibouti shore for live-fire weapons shoots and bilateral training with the French Army Jan. 28-Feb. 5.

It was the first time the platoon conducted a live-fire and maneuver exercise since before they deployed in November 2009.

Devil Dogs

Lance Cpl. Mike Kane, a rifleman from San Antonio, runs through a fire an maneuver course prior to conducting a live-fire exercise Jan. 29.

The bulk of the training included fire team maneuvers from light armored vehicles, firing the LAVs M242 25 mm chain gun and vehicle maneuvers with French soldiers during one of their field exercises.

“They retained all their skills and performed above our expectations,” said Sgt. Eric Laisure, a section leader with the platoon and Hesperia, Mich., native.

Light armored vehicle crewman and dismounted scouts worked together to assault through a fire and maneuver course and crewman and vehicle commanders had a chance to locate and destroy targets with the thundering 25mm Bushmaster.

Constant sand storms and the ever present moon dust slowed the training at times, but didn’t affect the Marines’ performance, said Gunnery Sgt. Matt Vickers, the LAR platoon sergeant and Decatur, Ill., native.

“They showed brilliance of the basics,” Vickers said about the platoon’s performance. “It’s the best our guys have done.”

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