ORCHARD COMBAT TRAINING CENTER, Idaho—For Pfc. Samuel Oehring, who grew up in the rural areas of Texas and Arkansas, shooting was a part of everyday life.
“Before the Army I shot a .270 bolt-action, a .22 AR and other shotguns,” said Oehring, an allied trade specialist assigned to Forward Support Company (Providers), 864th Engineer Battalion.
Even though Oehring has shot many other weapons, he explained that shooting the M240B machine gun takes a lot of skill and focus.
“The 240 has more recoil,” said Oehring. “If you don’t pay attention to the recoil and tuck it tight into yourself, you’ll lose your sight picture. Also, if you put too much of your finger on the trigger the weapon will pull left and right. You have to pay attention to the small details to properly shoot this weapon.”
The FSC went to the range to fire their M240B machine guns during their battalion’s deployment preparation training Oct. 7 at the Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho.
For Oehring this was only his second time firing the weapon, and he admits the first time wasn’t that great of an experience, being that he didn’t qualify, only scoring a 33.
“I didn’t do so well during the last qualification,” said Oehring. “The NCOs have been coaching and teaching us on how to use the weapons properly.”
Sgt. Raymond Ramos, who was working as a safety at the range, ensures that Oehring and the other soldiers in the platoon know every aspect of the weapon and not just how to pull the trigger.
“I first make sure they always clean their weapons,” said Ramos, a native of Pacifica, Calif. “I also teach them function checks, assembly and disassembly, and to know all the parts.”
This time firing, Oehring qualified with a 35, which is the minimal score to qualify. He was ecstatic when walking off the range about how he had improved.
Ramos was also proud of what his soldier had accomplished and warrants his efforts to what the mission of the near future holds.
“I just want to make sure they know what they’re doing before going to combat,” said Ramos, a 10-year veteran.
Oehring’s father served in the Army and was part of the reason he joined two years ago.
“My father passed while I was in AIT (Advanced Individual Training),” Oehring said. “I promised him before he passed that I’d do my part to serve my country.”
He had made his peace with his dad before he passed and has since realized that life is short and lives it to the fullest.
He’s looking forward to the upcoming deployment and is confident in his leaderships' abilities.
“They’ve got us ready for whatever comes our way, and have done a great job at doing it,” Oehring said.