Lance Cpl. David Cantu, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, patrols past goats in the city of Hit, Iraq on Mar. 8, 2008. Regimental Combat Team 5 is deployed with Multi-National Force-West in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al Anbar province of Iraq to develop Iraqi security forces, facilitate the development of official rule of law through democratic reforms, and continue the development of a market based economy centered on Iraqi reconstruction. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Cpl. Tyler Hill)
Note the short barrel on the SAW. Originally used primarily by Airborne troops, the short-barreled M249s seem to have become the norm. In early 2006 I pointed out short SAWs a couple of times with soldiers, but the Marines stuck with the regular 18″ barrel for a while. I’ve been seeing more and more pictures of Marines with short-barreled M249s, though, and they, too, seem to have made the switch.