News: ‘Packhorse’ soldiers qualify at Udairi Range
Story by Spc. Andrew Ingram
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait. – Soldiers of 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division certified their basic marksmanship skills during M4 carbine and M16 rifle qualifications at Udairi Range, Kuwait, March 12-14.
The training marked the first live fire exercise for the Packhorse soldiers since arriving in Kuwait in February.
“The brigade really arrived at Camp Buehring at the perfect time of year,” said 1st Sgt. Sean Patterson, senior enlisted leader, Company A, 4th BSB. “It is already getting warm, but we are training hard out here, in full gear, to get acclimated. Our hard work now will pay off this summer when it’s 130 degrees.
Each morning “Packhorse” soldiers began the day by zeroing their weapons, a process by which a weapon system’s sights are calibrated to a specific users eyes, aligning what an individual sees through a weapon’s sights to where the weapon’s barrel is actually pointed.
By conducting their biannual qualification soon after arriving in Kuwait the Packhorse soldiers will continue training with a solid baseline of skill, said 1st Sgt. Sean Patterson senior enlisted leader, Company A, 4th BSB.
“This is the perfect time to have their attention 24 hours a day,” said 1st Sgt. Sean Patterson, senior enlisted leader, Company A, 4th BSB. “The equipment is right here, ammo is readily available and we are close enough to Camp Buehring that the trips are easy to organize. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to gain valuable proficiencies and experience.
After zeroing their weapons the BSB soldiers conducted Basic Rifle Marksmanship qualifications. To pass the test, a firer must hit a minimum of 23 targets out of 40, at distances ranging from 50 to 300 meters.
Shooters who hit between 23 and 29 targets receive a marksman badge, 30-35 receive a sharpshooter badge, and 36-40 receive an expert badge.
These badges are worn on army dress uniforms and can contribute to soldiers' promotions.
Many Packhorse soldiers performed better during the qualification at Udairi than during training at Fort Carson Pfc. Tatiana Chandler, Automate Supply logistics specialist, Company A.
“Back home we have families to get home to or plans in the evening that can distract us from our training,” Chandler said. “I miss the states and my family, but being here I can focus on becoming a better marksman and a better soldier, without worrying about what’s coming on TV tonight.”
While waiting for their turn to fire, the BSB soldiers conducted hands on training with the M2 .50-caliber machine gun and M249 light machine gun.
“Our soldiers have a great opportunity for hands on training out here,” Sgt. Galen Peterson, transportation specialist, Company A. “We will only get better as we continue to work together and refine our skills.”
Patterson said he also looks forward to seeing his soldiers' skills improve throughout the deployment.
“This is exactly the kind of environment we need, because it gets our feet wet and gives us a chance to follow on with more complex training,” he said. “We are taking it slow, qualifying is just the beginning; the crawl phase; the next is obviously the walk phase where we will introduce these soldiers to new weapons and possibly get into some more complicated marksmanship scenarios; after that comes the run phase and that is when things will really get fun.”
Fourth BSB and the rest of the “Raider” Brigade will continue a rigorous training schedule throughout their deployment to Army Central Command’s area of responsibility, in addition to partnering with local armed forces to foster mutual respect an stability in the region.