News: Finance soldiers conduct Convoy Live-Fire at Yakima Training Center
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The Finance Corps Regimental Insignia includes the words, “to support and serve.” Usually this manifests itself in making sure soldiers are paid properly and on time as well as helping to make sure soldiers deployed to hazardous areas can get to their funds.
Oftentimes, the Finance soldiers are called to leave the confines of their bases in order to provide support to those stationed in outlying areas. To make sure they are prepared for any contingency, soldiers assigned to the 9th Finance Company, 593rd Special Troops Battalion, 593rd Sustainment Brigade deployed to Yakima Training Center and took part in Convoy Live-Fire training lanes there.
The soldiers trained on how to react to contact, react to an improvised explosive device, properly use communication devices, conducting a convoy, litter, evaluate/treat and evacuate a casualty and how to properly use smoke and panels to signal helicopter, said 2nd Lt. Gretchen McIntyre, a native of Auburn, Calif., and the convoy commander for the exercise.
McIntyre jumped at the opportunity to lead the training.
“A lot of junior officers in my branch don’t get this kind of training prior to deploying so I was invaluable for me,” she said.
The soldiers used Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles during the training, the main mode of ground transportation in Afghanistan.
For Spc. Veronica Bonilla, a military pay specialist from Bassait, N.J., it was the first time she had taken part in a convoy live-fire.
“You have a much better field of vision when you are doing this on foot versus in an MRAP so it’s a little harder to stay alert while in an MRAP,” she said. “It gave me an opportunity to do something that we normally don’t do in garrison. It also gave me the chance to undergo training that most finance soldiers don’t get the chance to do. There aren’t a lot of times we might go out during a deployment, but either way it was great to get a chance to do this kind of training.”
This was the first time that 593rd STB soldiers had used MRAPs. With the introduction of a new (to the soldiers) piece of equipment and the addition of live rounds fired from crew-served weapons, there was a lot of preparation involved in the training.
“A lot of our soldiers have not had the chance to drive an MRAP, so a month ago they started training heavily on how to properly operate one,” McIntyre said. “There was a heavy focus on safety including how to take corrective action in the event of a mishap. We also spent an entire day firing from the MRAPs using blank rounds. This gave the soldiers a chance to figure out their fields of fire and how to properly orient their weapons for safety purposes.”
Spc. Brennan Lally, a processing clerk and native of Jackson, Mich., had spent time in an MRAP during his deployment to Iraq, but firing from the gunners’ hatch was a new experience for him.
“This training was great because besides the MRAP portion, we were able to familiarize ourselves with different weapons systems,” Lally said. “It gives the soldiers the chance to get comfortable enough that they won’t have a problem getting up in the turret if the situation calls for it.”
The training had two very important results for Lally.
“Safety was the top priority [for me] because someone could get really hurt, or possibly die if I mess up,” he said. “Besides that, I welcomed the chance to fire the [M-240B, a 7.62 mm medium machine gun] from the turret because it made me feel secure with the weapon system and the vehicle if and when we deploy.”
“This kind of training helps any support soldier; finance, adjutant or a mechanic on a skill that any soldier needs to include in their skill set, whether they are in garrison or deployed,” McIntyre said.
Date Posted:03.27.2012 14:42
Location:JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US
Hometown:AUBURN, CA, US
Hometown:JACKSON, MI, US
Hometown:SOMERSET, NJ, US
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