News: Iron Soldiers hone weapon skills, prepare for deployment
Story by Pfc. Jennifer Spradlin
More than 100 Soldiers from B Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division participated in weapon familiarization during pre-deployment training at the Grafenwoehr Training Area Sept. 22.
Soldiers were instructed on the basics of the M-2, .50 caliber machine gun, and the M-240 B machine gun, including how to perform a functions check, clear weapon malfunctions, and the correct order of weapon disassembly and reassembly.
"Training opportunities like these are important because I think that sometimes Soldiers don't get enough time, in an open environment, to get to know the weapon systems," said Sgt. 1st Class Guadalupe Ornelas, B Co., STB, 1st AD.
Ornelas, a Stanton, Calf., native, taught the Soldiers how to operate the M-2. "We have to teach the Soldiers how to properly handle the weapons to avoid the potential for injury to themselves or other Soldiers."
"Repetition is the key to weapon familiarization," said Spc. Dwight Anderson, B Co., STB, 1st AD, who assisted in the weapons training. Anderson is from Kansas City, Kan.
After the main block of instruction, Soldiers broke into smaller groups and took turns working hands-on with the weapons. As the pre-deployment training progresses, these Soldiers will build on the basic skills during sessions at live-fire ranges.
"Every Soldier is an infantryman," said Capt. Nick Kranites, B Co. Commander, STB, 1st AD. "While these Soldiers will fill a particular role while deployed, we need to make sure that have the skills to conduct operations and function as a member of a convoy."
"These Soldiers are taking the training very seriously. How well you know these weapon systems can save your life or the life of your fellow Soldier," said Kranites, from Miami, Fla.
This was the first training block for the 1st AD Soldiers as part of a larger pre-deployment exercise scheduled to last through mid-October. The division will deploy later in the year.