FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - In the city of Fairbanks, Alaska, seeing members of the U.S. Army Alaska Arctic Warrior Band is quite commonplace. With free concerts throughout the year and performances at special events and holidays, their musical talents are well known to many.
What is not often seen is the soldiering side, the side where they are not performing, when they put down their musical instruments and pick up their weapons.
“We are soldiers. We do all the exact same things that every other regular soldier does and part of that are things like (Physical Readiness Training), rifle qualification and marksmanship,” said Sgt. 1st Class Heather Harmon, a bassoonist assigned to USARAK Arctic Warrior Band, 17th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade. “We start with (physical training) at 6:30 a.m., and usually half the day will be rehearsals and half the day will be training and support work.”
Even with a busy concert schedule, the band keeps current on Army tasks and training.
“It requires a lot of planning. Since we are a self-sustaining unit, usually once a week we work through the warrior tasks (and drills) and do Army training,” said Harmon.
This month, members of the band participated in M203 grenade launcher and M4/M16 rifle qualification ranges with fellow soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, to ensure training and qualifications were up to date.
“This is part of our annual requirement that we do,” said Harmon.
Even with frigid temperatures and looming clouds, band members still had high spirits and high scores on their targets downrange.
“It was a fantastic experience,” said Spc. Jukabiea K. Barlow, a trumpet player assigned to USARAK Arctic Warrior Band. “Being arctic warriors like we are, it’s important that we go to the range and be prepared for any type of climate that we must face.”
“This is my second time going this fall. I’m very excited every time we have the chance to come out here,” he said.
After the soldiers made site adjustments and zeroed their rifles, they were given 40 rounds and a target with 10 silhouettes. To qualify, each soldier must hit at least 23 targets and more than 35 to receive an expert rating.
Spc. Barlow, though anxious for another attempt at a higher score, seemed pleased with his achievement.
“I did fairly well today,” said Barlow. “I shot 37.”
“I can always do better and there’s room for improvement,” he added.
Barlow and several other band members earned the Army Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with rifle clasp.
At the M203 grenade launcher range, soldiers had to hit at least four of six targets in order to qualify.
Only three band members attended the M203 range, but all of them excelled and qualified.
Spc. Nicholas Marcum, a saxophone player with USARAK Arctic Warrior Band, said he hadn’t fired a grenade launcher since last winter but successfully hit five out of six targets needed to qualify on the M203.
Sergeants Alex Womack, a guitarist, and Ryan Richmond, a trumpet player, also qualified with five rounds hitting their marks.
“We have to stay familiar with the weapon even when we’re not in a time of war,” said Womack. “It’s our primary job, regardless of our (Army military occupation specialties).”
|Date Posted:||09.26.2013 19:20|
|Location:||FORT WAINWRIGHT, AK, US|
This work, US Army Alaska Arctic Warrior Band members on target during Army marksmanship training, by SSG Patricia McMurphy, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.