‘Dagger’ Brigade MPs hone unstabilized gunnery skills
M1151 Humvees come off the firing line during unstabilized gunnery crew qualification July 13 at the Douthit Multipurpose Range Complex.
Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
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Showing that the oft-repeated joke about how the acronym "MP" really stands for "multi-purpose" and not "military police" has some merit, a group of MP's took to the range to qualify M1151 Humvee crews during unstabilized gunnery tables June 25 to July 16.
"We're very versatile, sort of jacks-of-all-trades," said Staff Sgt. Howard Meneses, squad leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. "People usually think of law enforcement right off the bat (when thinking of MPs). They don't realize all the combat support we provide in a deployed environment, whether it be forward at the line or in the rear, securing routes, (enemy POW) operations and convoy security."
Unstabilized gunnery involves shooting a weapons system like the M2A1 .50-caliber machine gun from a truck, said 2nd Lt. Deseret Fournier, MP platoon leader, HHC, STB, 2nd HBCT. Stabilized gunnery refers to firing off of a stable platform, as is done during a tank or Bradley Fighting Vehicle gunnery. Only two military occupational specialties – MP's and cavalry scouts – get specific training at M1151 truck gunnery, Meneses said. Both military occupation specialties place a premium on mobility.
"We have to learn how to fire when on the move because sometimes when you're on missions, you have to fire as you travel through an area," Fournier said.
The primary focus of the gunnery, which began back in June with basic familiarization and gradually worked up to firing live ammunition both at day and night, is to ensure the vehicle crews are proficient and able to communicate effectively with each other, Fournier said.
"We are testing how well each crew interacts with each other by calling firing commands and making sure the gunner and truck commander are proficient in the weapons system, so if something were to happen downrange, the qualified crew would react appropriately," she said.
The MP platoon has been receiving support from fellow "Dagger" Brigade Soldiers with the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment.
"They have taken us under their wing since the very first meetings back in May," Fournier said. "They've been nothing but gracious. When we've needed mechanical help or help from their armorer or communications personnel, they've been there."