Marine battalion to get very quiet in upcoming tests

A U.S. Marine with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, conducts a company attack range in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Oct. 23, 2016. Bravo Company is participating in Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 1-17 and preparing to support Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah N. Petrock, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera)

A U.S. Marine with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, conducts a company attack range in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Oct. 23, 2016. Bravo Company is participating in Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 1-17 and preparing to support Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah N. Petrock, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera)

The U.S. Marine Corps is expanding its use of suppressors in a test that will see a full battalion using them on everything from service rifles to .50-caliber machine guns.

An infantry battalion of the 2nd Marine Division will have every element, from combat engineers to headquarters units, equipped with suppressed weapons in an upcoming experiment. The concept has already been trialed so far this year in company-level exercises.

I spoke with Adam Mehlenbacher, who knows firsthand about dealing with hearing loss and complications for many service members and their families. He’s an audiologist who heads up the American Academy of Audiology’s Government Relations committee and he is also an Army veteran who had deployed to Bosnia and Iraq.

“Hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common service related disabilities. They can have an enormous negative impact on communication ability and quality of life,” Mehlenbacher told Guns.com. He added that they’re both completely preventable.

“Everyone in the military is issued hearing protection and as an audiologist I will say you should always wear it,” he said. “Although, as a veteran I know there are times when service members just do not. Issuing weapons with suppressors is a great way to reduce noise exposure.”

More in my column at Guns.com

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