positions. If possible, he is connected by telephone to
fire direction center (FDC). The FDC can be a separate
his mortar gun crews and to the platoon commander in
bunker, generally located in the battalion command
post. In the FDC, he receives fire missions from his
forward observers (FOs) or from other commands. He
FORWARD OBSERVER.-- The forward observer
then plots the targets on the plotting board to check their
is usually a second class petty officer (E-5). He is
normally the second senior man in the mortar squad. He
receiving permission to fire from the commanding
is the eyes of the mortar team and has the primary
officer, he issues fire commands to his squad leaders.
mission of locating suitable targets, and calling for and
The platoon commander is armed with the service pistol.
adjusting fire on these targets. He is armed with the
ASSISTANT MORTAR PLATOON COM-
MANDER.-- The assistant mortar platoon commander,
MORTAR GUN CREWS.-- Each mortar gun crew
normally a first class petty officer (E-6), must always be
consists of four men. These men are called the crew
prepared to assume command of the platoon. During
leader/gunner, assistant gunner, ammunition carrier
combat, he takes up a position in the alternate command
number 1, and ammunition carrier number 2.
post and stands ready to take command of the platoon
Crew Leader/Gunner.-- The crew leader/gunner,
should the battalion command post be destroyed. He is
usually a second class petty officer (E-5), is responsible
armed with the service pistol.
for the correct sighting of the weapon. He receives the
MORTAR PLATOON AMMUNITION TECH-
NICIAN.-- The mortar platoon ammunition technician,
necessary safety checks and adjustment to the weapon
usually a first class petty officer (E-6), has the same
He is armed with the service pistol.
responsibilities of supply, weapons maintenance, and
Assistant Gunner.-- The assistant gunner, generally
casualty reporting as the weapons platoon ammunition
a third class petty officer (E-4), checks the mortar barrel
technician. He is armed with the service rifle.
for cleanliness, assists the gunner in positioning the
MORTAR PLATOON COMMUNICATORS.--
barrel, and loads the weapon on command. The weapon
automatically fires upon loading. He is also armed with
constructionmen (E-3), are trained as a team and must
the service pistol.
be completely familiar with fire commands and
Ammunition Carrier Number 1.-- Ammunition
procedures. Whenever possible, one communicator is
carrier number 1, generally a constructionman (E-3),
stationed with each forward observer. He passes target
prepares the ammunition for firing and passes it to the
information back to another communicator in the FDC
assistant gunner. In addition, he realigns the aiming
by radio. After the fire missions are assigned by the
stakes under the direction of the gunner. He is armed
platoon commander, the FDC communicator passes the
with the service rifle.
proper fire commands to the respective squad leaders by
Ammunition Carrier Number 2.-- Ammunition
carrier number 2, also a nonrated man (E-3 or E-2)
assists in placing the mortar. He maintains the
ammunition supply for the mortar and helps prepare the
rounds for firing. He is also armed with the service rifle.
The mortar section consists of 11 men, a section
leader, and 2 mortar crews of 4 men each, a forward
LAWS OF WAR
observer, and a communicator.
MORTAR SECTION LEADER.-- The mortar
The laws of armed conflict are the concern of every
section leader is usually a first class petty officer (E-6).
member of the armed forces: soldiers, sailors, airmen,
He is responsible to the platoon commander for the
marines, and yes, even Seabees. Because of the
effective employment of his two gun crews. The section
important sound of the term laws of armed conflict, you
leader selects the exact position for placement of the
may think that only people, such as the Chief of Naval
mortar tubes. He supervises their placement and zeroing
Operations, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of
in. He is armed with the service rifle. The mortars are
Defense, and the President, concern themselves with the
rules of war. While individuals such as these from many
generally placed about 50 yards apart to help reduce
casualties. The section leader normally takes up a
countries have, over the years, drafted the basic
position midway between and to the rear of the mortar
documents governing man's treatment of his fellowman