A puff of orange smoke
exploded about 500 meters down a training lane at Douthit Gunnery Complex.
“That’s what I like to
see,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Fimpel, 287th Military Police Company, 97th
Military Police Battalion, as he watched a target fall.
The 40-mm training round had
found its mark.
“That’s when the job gets exciting
is when you know they’re getting it,” Fimpel said.
From May 19 to 22, Soldiers
with the 287th MP Co. familiarized themselves with the weapons systems – a
40-mm grenade launcher and .50-caliber gun – aboard armored security vehicles,
or ASVs. From May 27 to 30, they took to therange to operate and qualify on the
“We always train on the weapons,
like taking them apart and functions checks. But actually firing them and hitting
targets, this might be our first time doing it. We’re learning,” said Spc.
Stephen Casey, 287th MP Co. “It’s all about a team … It’s all us going in there
together and being able to trust each other, so we can qualify … In a situation
like this, when we’re in the ASV, we have teams, and this is where it all comes
(together). This is the big test right here, to see how well we can work together
as a team.”
Functioning as a cohesive team
is critical when operating the ASVs, explained 1st Lt. Markus Fischbach, 287th MP
“It’s not just one
individual. You have a whole team working together to employ the whole weapon
system … It takes a driver, a gunner and a team leader just to make that weapons
platform function,” he said. “Soldiers are really getting a lot out of it,
learning, working together as a team.”
Each position in the ASV
has to communicate and act on critical information within seconds. That timing
is a challenge.
As targets pop up for each firing
table, teams only have 30 to 60 seconds to acquire each target and destroy it.
“That’s the really hard
part – 30 seconds,” said Pfc. Christopher Campbell, 287th MP Co., who was
qualifying for the first time as a gunner. “It’s pretty hard … It takes time.”
“It’s basically training
you for when you get downrange because no target is going to stay in the same
spot for 30 seconds,” Casey added. “If you can hit a target in that amount of
time, then you’re pretty good of a shooter, pretty good of an actual ASV team.
So, that’s why we train like that here.”
ASVs are typically used for
urban missions, like escorts and security convoys, and linear warfare.
Having an opportunity to train
on the range is a highlight of being a Soldier, said Sgt. Jesus Garabote, 287th
“It’s pretty much what all of
us joined to do,” he said.
As Casey and Campbell came
off their lanes for the first time, they said they had learned a lot
familiarizing themselves with the ASVs, adding they were eager to get back out
“For me and my gunner, it was
the first time (out) for both of us, so we learned together, and I enjoyed it.
I’m ready to go back again,” Casey said. “To me, it’s pretty exciting, a great learning
“It was really cool,” Campbell added.