News: Mark-19 qualification
Story by Sgt. 1st Class James Downen
CAMP GRAYLING, Mich. - According to Field Manual 3-22.27, “The Mark-19, Model 3 40mm is an air-cooled, blowback-operated grenade machine gun that supports the soldier in both the offense and defense. It gives the unit the capability of laying down a heavy volume of close, accurate, and continuous fire.”
On Aug. 18, 2014, Ohio Army National Guard Soldiers from C Company, 37th Special Troops Battalion put FM 3-22.27 to use at Range 41 on Camp Grayling, Michigan. The range was run by fellow “Buckeyes” from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 134th Field Artillery.
Pfc. John Redmond of Youngstown, Ohio, said, “The qualification table we’re shooting will help us with wartime tasks if we get sent into combat. I am a 92Y unit supply specialist and we take part in convoy operations and are expected to defend any positions we occupy, so I could be tasked as a gunner on the Mark-19. Out of all the weapons systems I’ve fired, I’d have to say the Mark-19 is the most devastating.”
Range 41 has obsolete armored personnel carriers and tanks used for targets. They still retain much of their flat-toned surface paint and what has been blasted away by 40mm grenade impacts has rusted over, allowing the targets to blend in with their surroundings. Redmond said, “The tank at 1300 meters was the most challenging, thanks to the flat-green color and rust, I could barely see it. I guess that makes the range realistic, no enemy is going to paint their vehicles blaze orange in a combat zone!”
“This is the first time I’ve ever operated the Mark-19, I had a good day and qualified expert.” Said Spc. Jonathan Marcum of Vandalia, Ohio. “The Mark-19 has a lot of recoil, but if you sit behind the trigger, put your legs over the tripod and dig your heels in, you’ll be able to put rounds on target.”
Marcum agreed with Redmond’s assessment of the 1300 meter tank target, “I had to walk my rounds onto the tank. The vehicle is hard to see, but when you use the traverse and elevation mechanism properly, you can still hit it. The Mark-19 is loud, devastating to the target and fun to operate.”
The C Company, 37th Special Troops Battalion Soldiers concluded their qualification tables, meeting the Army standard for training on the Mark 19, Model 3 40mm grenade machine gun. Should the unit have to deploy, the Soldiers have the skills needed to operate a devastating weapons system to protect their positions and convoys in a combat environment.