News: Able Company improves unit readiness with weaponfamiliarization training
Story by Sgt. Victor Everhart
DONA ANA BASE CAMP, N.M. – Unit readiness is among the Army’s top priorities when it comes to deploying and defending the freedoms we all enjoy today. That being said, infantrymen assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, improved their unit’s overall readiness by holding weapon system familiarization training during Iron Focus.
E Company, 125th Brigade Support Battalion, received weapon familiarization training from the Infantry unit they support. The block of instruction covered the four most common weapon systems found within the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the parent unit for 1-41 Infantry, the Straight and Stalwart Battalion.
“What we’re doing is sharing our knowledge of the weapon systems,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Flounoy, a Pavo, Ga., native. “We’re showing them the ins and outs of the weapons, the best way to utilize them and the different targets that are good for the systems individually.”
“Our most common weapon systems are the M9 pistol, the M4 assault rifle, the M249 squad automatic weapon, and the M240B machine gun,” said Flounoy, a platoon sergeant with Able Company. “It gives them a better understanding of how to eliminate any targets in their way.”
“Normally, our support guys will infiltrate us into an area and we’ll dismount, complete our mission, get back to the trucks and return patrol,” said Flounoy, a member of 3rd platoon.
“So better preparing them for what they may come into contact with is paramount.” He continued, “Another good thing is, this gives me a chance to have my specialists get to train, further improving their noncommissioned officers’ level skills.”
“I’m going over safe loading and unloading procedures,” said Spc. Gregory Moore, an infantryman assigned to Able Company. “Having the trust of my (NCOs) is something that motivates me, and anytime I can show them I’m here to be a pertinent part of the team I can and I will do just that.”
“I’m just glad I get to help the guys that support me all the time,” said Sgt. Michael Loper, an Atlanta, Texas native. “The Echo company guys came out here motivated and ready to learn, so that motivated me to actually give them a more in-depth class that wasn’t originally scheduled.”
“My goal for them is to be able to assemble and disassemble all the weapon systems out here, even if their assigned weapon is an M4, I’d like them to at least know how to help a saw gunner or a 240 gunner,” said Loper, a squad leader within 1-41IN. “If we can accomplish that goal I believe the soldier readiness and unit readiness will have improved five-fold and makes us a much harder unit to contend with.”
On the other side of the training, Sgt. Gary Huerta, an NCO and a small arms repairman assigned to Echo Company, 125th BSB had this to say, “I’m glad my guys are getting the time to train with the weapons and get to know them better, seeing how we don’t get as much time with the weapon systems as the infantry does, but this is a small step in the right direction. On the other side I see us being able to help those guys out with vehicle and equipment training in the future, making us all better overall soldiers.”
At the end of the day, all soldiers met the training standard, and all participants were able to assemble and disassemble the weapon systems successfully. Also, any of them could also tell you what some of the best targets for each of the individual weapon systems.
“I was extremely proud to see my guys teaching, and our forward support guys taking in the knowledge and being proactive, asking for scenarios and life lessons that we’ve learned, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Flounoy. “Our unit is getting stronger, not just individually, but together as a team – infantry and FSC.”