As U.S.-backed Syrian Defense Forces clear ground around Raqqa, recently liberating roughly 386 square miles from Islamic State control, a Marine artillery battery is hard at work, shelling the ever-living crap of out of ISIS.
On June 21, the Corps released several images showing arty Marines dropping rounds around the clock.
Marines have been conducting 24-hour fire support for the Syrian Democratic Forces as part of CJTF-OIR to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. pic.twitter.com/jAX5QPcgZ0
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) June 21, 2017
In May, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit returned to the states after the unit’s artillery battery fired 4,500 rounds at ISIS in support of Kurdish and Syrian Arab Forces isolating Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria. The mission of the 11th MEU was handed over to another Marine unit in last month, presumably the 24th MEU, according to reporting by Marine Corps Times’ Jeff Schogol.
The recently released Marine Corps photos were taken by Sgt. Matthew Callahan, who is assigned to the 24th MEU, and they show just what arty “support” entails.
It means lobbing a ton of rounds from red-hot barrels of M777-A2 howitzers.
Check it out:
After setting up their guns on May 14, the Marines got to work.
On May 15, Marines fired M777-A2 howitzers in northern Syria in support of coalition partners there.
Though artillery positions provide support from a distance, their positions are often forward and isolated, requiring Marines to dig in and fortify the gun pits.
If the Marines in Syria are indeed from the 24th MEU, it would be the third time in just over a year that artillery assets from a Marine expeditionary unit have deployed to man a fire base in support of ground operations against ISIS.
A Marine cuts loose with a howitzer in Syria on June 1 during a 24-hour all-weather fire mission.
On June 2, the guns were still up, and still shooting, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint mission to eliminate the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The night of June 3 was no different, with the artillery Marines back at their guns.