‘Raiders’ 3rd unit to train at Digital Multipurpose Range Complex
Soldiers with the 977th MP Co., 97th MP Bn. participated in a training exercise Sept. 14 at the newly constructed Digital Multipurpose Range Complex.
Story by: Shandi Dix
Soldiers with the 977th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, were the third unit to conduct a training exercise at the recently opened Digital Multipurpose Range Complex.
Using the gunnery skills testing portion of the battalion's weaponry program, the unit trained on M-249, M-240 and 50-caliber weapons Sept. 13 to 15 at the range.
The testing is a huge addition to the unit's normal preliminary marksmanship instruction and electronic simulated trainer because it covers the whole outline of the weapons system itself, not just how it operates, said Cpl. Reece Nortum, 977th MP Co., 97th MP Bn.
The booklet used with the testing contains the different part outlays, how to disassemble, reassemble, and how to correct malfunctions of each weapon used by the Soldiers, he said.
"It really is a one stop because of all the weapons systems that we operate on a day-to-day basis, instead of carrying around all of those extra (technical manuals) and (field manuals), it incorporates all the data you need from those books into one thing," Nortum said.
"It makes it easier to do training. It's always right there. Just flip to the page, and we can just move from weapon system to weapon system in the same day," said Spc. Sean Shoop, 977th MP Co., 97th MP Bn. "(It) makes (training) more expedient, so it's quicker, and then everybody gets to go through quicker, too."
The gunnery skills testing portion utilizes the crawl-, walk-, run-aspect of training by breaking it down to the very basic level to allow Soldiers to start off on the same playing field, Nortum said.
It also removes the concentration from the sole gunner assigned to a certain weapon, allowing everyone in the vehicle to become a subject matter expert for the particular weapon.
During the training, Soldiers conducted zeroing qualifications and situational-based qualifications.
"It forces you to use all of the things that you have learned and kind of apply it to a real world situation," Nortum said.
The three-day training began with the sergeant explaining the various parts of each weapon, how it operates, the cycles and the amount of ammunition required.
"Then, the Soldier will take hold and pretty much redo what the sergeant told you – learn the weapon, cycle through what the weapon can do, disassemble it, put it back together, malfunctions and anything the weapon has to do pretty much with that weapon system," said Spc. Daniel Reinsch, 977th MP Co., 97th MP Bn.
The second day of training was conducted at the Engagement Skills Trainer.
"You shoot the weapon, learn the weapon and how to operate without the stress of live ammunition," Reinsch said. "Then you come out to the range and put everything that you've learned from day one and the (Engagement Skills Trainer) into effect – operate the weapon system and everything it can do with live ammo."
The newly constructed range features many perks and amenities for training Soldiers, Nortum said.
"This facility is probably the most advanced that I have seen," he said. "With the cameras out on the range and on the tower itself is extra feedback, where you can't really see that far down range to give you feedback on your round placement or how you're hitting the targets or anything else like that. You have that outside person able to tell you what they're seeing – help you adjust your fire a little bit."
Six cameras are located around the range that can show the Soldier how they're holding their weapon, how they're using trigger squeeze, what they're doing and also show them how their rounds are impacting near the target, said 1st Lt. Nathan Elkins, platoon leader, 977th MP Co., 97th MP Bn.
"They can record that and then play it back to these guys so that they can have second-by-second feedback on exactly what they're doing from six cameras," he said.
The cantonment area offers the Soldiers showers and beds, as opposed to cots.
"It gives it kind of a range feel without the stress of having all the tents and setting it up. You don't have to waste your time with that. Just come out, drop your gear and go train," Shoop said.