Best of the Best
(February 24, 2011)
|OKINAWA, Japan (2/22/2011) - Instilled with pride and a
sense of loyalty to their jobs, many Marines will proclaim
they work in the best military occupational specialty the
Marine Corps has to offer.|
Sgt. Dustin Zimmerman, section chief of Gun Team
2, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd
Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force,
is no different.
At the beginning of his
Marine Corps career in 2004, Zimmerman enlisted
as an Assault Amphibious Vehicle crewman, only
to find out at Marine Combat Training that he
had been switched to the artillery field.
Despite the last minute switch, Zimmerman
“I knew there was no
going back or changing anyone's mind, so I just
rolled with it,” said the San Leandro, Calif.
Zimmerman completed the six-week
Cannon Crewman Course in Fort Sill, Okla., where
he later worked as an instructor, in order to
earn the title of artilleryman.
Sgt. Dustin Zimmerman,
section chief, Gun Team 2, 3rd Battalion, 12th
Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine
Expeditionary Force, prepares to explain the
mechanics, characteristics, maintenance, firing
protocol and new digital fire control system on
the M777 Howitzer to Japan Ground Self Defense
Force service members here Feb. 3, 2011. Photo
by USMC Lance Cpl. Jovane Holland
Seven years later, with more than 50 exercises under his
belt ranging from brief shoots to month-long training
programs, Zimmerman maintains the stance that he has the
best job in the Marine Corps. |
“There are so many
great things about artillery, besides the distinction of
being ‘king in battle,'” said Zimmerman. “There's a great
deal of diversity in this field when it comes to weaponry.
Our fire power is unmatched- whether we're shooting the M2
Browning heavy machine gun, M-240B medium machine gun or the
The great deal of trust that comes with
time in the handling of these weapons is also a plus when it
comes to artillery, said Zimmerman.
“Artillery is a
MOS where you have the opportunity to oversee and supervise
at a much lower level,” he said. “I was a section chief at
19 years old, handling not only millions of dollars in
equipment, but my fellow Marines' lives as well. It's a
great responsibility that can't be taken lightly.”
Artillery is also unique in its nature of exposing Marines
to different MOSs, said Zimmerman.
“When I'm training
in the field, I'm more than an 0811 [artilleryman],” said
Zimmerman. “Artillery Marines are proficient in motor
transport, communications, you name it. We do a little of
When in the field, Zimmerman works to
ensure supporting Marines get a chance to learn about
artillery as well.
“Since I've been with Gun Team 2,
I've primed and loaded rounds and helped during set-up and
break-down,” said Lance Cpl. Adam Thompson, a motor
transport operator with 3rd Bn., 12th Marines. “Sgt.
Zimmerman is very helpful when it comes to learning more
about the artillery field.”
The chance to fire some
of the military's most complex weapon systems all around the
world is the best part of it all, said Zimmerman.
“I've fired rounds from the M2 Browning heavy machine gun,
M-240B medium machine gun and M777 Howitzer everywhere from
Australia to Iraq,” said Zimmerman. “Not many people get to
By USMC LCpl. Jovane Holland|
III Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs
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