Use it or lose it: Soldiers conduct weapons training to stay current
Pfc. Crystal Mietzner, geospatial engineer, 1st ABCT, inserts a three-round magazine as she prepares to group her shots at the zeroing range during the unit’s training on the M4 carbine assault rifle Feb. 5 at Fort Riley. Photo by: Sgt. Kerry Lawson, 1ST ABCT.
Story by: Sgt. Kerry Lawson
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Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted training on the M4 carbine assault rifle Feb. 5 at Fort Riley.
"We, as Soldiers, need to do this kind of training more often because it is a very perishable skill," said Sgt. Zachary Gallaher, master trainer, HHC, 1st ABCT. "If you don't use it, you lose it."
The training was for all ranks and jobs within the brigade, said 1st Sgt. Tony Reese, first sergeant, HHC. Soldiers need to be able to group, zero and qualify with their assigned weapons.
This is a good area to maintain because it is an easily lost skill, said Pfc. Claudio De Gregorio, legal assistant, 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st ABCT.
"I love this kind of training, and I wish we could do this stuff more often," De Gregorio said. "If we could do this two or three more times a year, that would be awesome. It's good that we shoot to get good groups and zero the weapon because this allows you to notice and fix any faults that you may find with the weapon."
De Gregorio also said it allows Soldiers to make any necessary adjustments to the weapon before moving to the qualification range.
"Even expert shooters need to maintain their level of marksmanship proficiency," Reese said. "A lot of Soldiers that are within a brigade level do not usually do this kind of training often. The range allows these Soldiers to refresh this particular skill."
The range also allows the brigade's Soldiers to maintain their warrior-skill set, said Capt. Bryan Sanders, company commander, HHC, 1st ABCT.
"Being at a brigade level, we're unable to do a lot of the training that a line unit is able to do, such as a field artillery unit conducting a Paladin gunnery range," Sanders said. "The colonel's intent is to further develop the skill mind-set as a combat unit."
This is to ensure the brigade is combat-ready, should the Army call it to action, Sanders added.
"The more often you go to the range, the more you will be comfortable with that weapon system," he said. "When you're more comfortable with the weapon, then the more likely you will be able to place a lethal shot."