The primary weapon of each
Soldier across the 1st Infantry Division received some new modifications
In addition to a heavier barrel
and an ambidextrous fire control, the M-4 carbine, is being modified from
single shot and burst mode to single shot and fully automatic.
A team of armorers from Aniston
Army Depot in Alabama, and mission leads from the Product Improvement Program
out of Detroit came to Fort Riley to perform the modification to each of the
“The improvements are a direct
result of feedback from the battlefield,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Muth, 1st Inf.
Div. deputy commanding general for support. “Soldiers and leaders wanted the
increased lethality a fully automatic weapon affords, and now they, now we, the
1st Inf. Div., have it.”
The 1st Inf. Div. is the first
division in the Army to receive the new upgrades, which convert the M-4 to the M4A1.
The entire Army will eventually receive the upgraded weapon.
“It seems fitting that the ‘Big
Red One’ be the first division in the Army to receive the upgraded M4A1
carbine,” Muth said. “It continues a proud legacy of famous firsts for the
division that include being the first to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day
and being the first to lead Regionally Aligned Forces.”
The modification process requires
each company in the division to bring their weapons to the armorers from
Aniston, who then disassemble the weapon and modify it.
In the process, the weapons
are actually engraved with the new M4A1 model number.
“We engrave them with a different
model number because they are now a different weapon; we are actually changing
the weapon itself,” said Brian Tremblay, mission lead, M-4 Product Improvement Program.
About 300 weapons were modified
each day, and about 8,000 weapons will be modified when the process is complete
at Fort Riley.
“It’s a big, big program,” Tremblay
said. “This is truly a team effort. The way it’s being done here is the way
it’s supposed to be, with everyone working together.”
The 407th Army Field Support
Battalion has handled the coordination of the different organizations to update
“This is really part of our
normal mission, and this is significant in that it’s the first division to get
the modification across the entire division. Up until now, only special
operations and some small portions of brigades have gotten it,” said Lt. Col.
Daniel Duncan, commander, 407th AFSB.
The AFSB is part of the Army
Materiel Command and handles much of the logistical demands of the 1st Inf.
Div., like left behind equipment and reset.
“It’s a good example of the
fusion that takes place on a AFSB mission because Army Materiel Command has separate
commands underneath it, but they really come together on a tactical level at
the AFSB,” Duncan said.
The small team of mostly Army
civilians coordinates not only with the units within the division, but also with
the Logistical Readiness Command, contractors and outside organizations, like Aniston
The effort and coordination
between the AFSB, LRC, the division, Aniston Army Depot and the mission leads have
set the standard for the process, Duncan said.
“The modification effort has
been a very smooth operation between everyone involved,” he added.