Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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Sustainers qualify on Army’s latest firepower

By Sgt. Dana Moen | 1ST SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | August 14, 2014

Sixteen Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division familiarized themselves with the Army’s latest firepower during the company’s M2HB .50 caliber machine gun weapons qualification range July 16 at Fort Riley. The company recently fielded the M2HB, which is equipped with new features that eliminate operator error on primary pieces requiring operator adjustments. The latest version of the weapon also eliminates safety concerns associated with barrel changing. “We saw in Iraq and Afghanistan that sustainers were being used to man gun trucks during convoys, and these Soldiers were actually engaging targets,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Waller, senior noncommissioned officer, STB. “This is part of the warrior task and battle drill, and it trains our Soldiers to be able to handle any mission.” Before any Soldier set foot on the range, HHC spent two days in preliminary marksmanship instruction and the Engagement Skills Trainer to ensure Soldiers were properly trained on the weapons system. “Who doesn’t like to go to a .50 cal. range,” said 1st Sgt. Jere Holloway, senior NCO, HHC, STB, 1st Sust. Bde. The 54-year-old Holloway set the company standard and qualified along with his Soldiers on the M2HB only one week after taking over as the company’s top NCO July 9.

“Range nine is one of the better machine gun ranges that I have fired on,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Rodriguez-Sanchez, petroleum supply specialist, HHC, STB, 1st Sust. Bde. “I like how the company had us do the preliminary marksmanship instruction and (EST) before the range.”

Sanchez said he likes the M2HB better than the older variant because the headspace and timing are not operator adjustable, reducing malfunctions associated with older models.

The youngest qualifier in the group, 20-year-old Pvt. Mason Stokes, automated logistical specialist, HHC, STB, 1st Sust. Bde., said the M2HB would be highly effective at short and long ranges in a combat environment.

“I love shooting the .50 cal,” Stokes said.

At the end of the day with the closing of the range, Holloway, who brings 21 years of experience to HHC, offered his thoughts: “The range ran smoothly. It’s good to get out and see (NCOs) performing their duties.” 

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