FORT CHAFFEE, Ark.- River Assault 2012 provides soldiers from the 412th Theater Engineer Command with the opportunity to hone present skills, learn new skills and experience different weapons systems, here, July 14 to July 27, 2012.
“In the last two days, we have been firing the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW),” said Sgt. Corey Chadwick, from Clemson, S.C., combat engineer and NCO for one of the lanes on the range, “Today, we switched to the M240B.”
River Assault 2012 provides a wide range of training events. Today, the 323rd Engineer Company, from Spartanburg, N.C., are training soldiers on the machine gun range, here, with the M240B belt fed automatic machine gun. Experienced NCOs share their knowledge polishing the skills of those who have fired the weapon, as well as the newest of soldiers.
Corey explained that the soldiers begin by zeroing the weapon and making sure the soldiers can make the transition. Then, they move to pop-ups for qualification, he said.
Spc. Benjamin Milo, with the 94th Military Police Company, Londonderry, N.H., is on the range looking forward to firing the weapon and soaking up as much training as possible, he said.
“We’re shooting the M240B,” he said. “It’s a familiarization with the weapon. It’s big, it’s loud-it’s everyone’s favorite.” He explained that the M240 essentially works the same as the SAW (M249). “It’s just a bigger bang and more bullets-who wouldn’t want that?” The M249 fires a 5.56 mm round; the M240, a 7.62 mm round.
Chadwick says they don’t train Soldiers how to shoot. “They already know how to do that. They are well trained, they do their preventative maintenance and inspections, before they get out here,” he said. “We make sure they can hit what they’re pointing at. You’re putting a lot of rounds downrange when you shoot this thing, so you have to be able to control this weapon.”
Milo, who just finished Advanced Individual Training December 2011, and on his first annual training, is looking to get as much training as possible. “Anything they can throw at me,” he said. “Training like this is exciting.”
Training on the M240B is a new exciting experience for newer Soldiers like Milo. It’s a way to hone skills and expand skill sets for experienced Soldiers like Chadwick, who is running a lane for the first time in his career. It is one of many opportunities River Assault 12 affords Soldiers of the 412th TEC.