News: I Corps takes aim at the Pacific
Story by Sgt. Cody Quinn
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., kicked up sparks and dust clouds in a series of heavy weapons ranges July 8-10.
The Soldiers were trained on, and fired, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, M240B machine gun and MK 19 grenade machine gun as part of HHB’s transition to a Pacific theater expeditionary force.
HHB is using live, constructive and virtual training to improve their soldiers’ weapon proficiency, and is among the first on JBLM to incorporate the M320 grenade launcher into their virtual training, said Lt. Col. Christopher M. Rizzo, commander of HHB, I Corps.
HHB performed a battalion-wide preliminary marksmanship instruction prior to firing at the ranges, and the next step is to qualify soldiers on the heavy weapon systems, said 1st Lt. Thomas B. Groom, the officer-in-charge of the M240B range from B Company, HHB, I Corps.
“We’re basically making 240 gunners out here,” said Groom.
Soldiers at the ranges were not currently assigned gunners on their weapon systems, but were being trained to fill those roles, said Groom.
“So much in having a ready and resilient formation and having an expeditionary mindset relies on our small unit leaders and having our non-commissioned officers able to instruct on a MK 19,” said Rizzo. “We are providing familiarity with weapons we will use to support tactical vehicle movement and support base defense.”
Firing the M240B was the first opportunity to shoot at a range since leaving basic training, said Spc. Travis A. Martin, a military policeman with B Company, HHB, I Corps.
“It’s nice when you get out here and shoot rounds for free, practice and have fun at the same time,” said Martin.
HHB’s reorientation to an expeditionary for the Pacific has many soldiers in HHB training on weapon systems they’re not necessarily experienced with, said Rizzo.
“We’re using equipment that we can operate in an austere environment,” said Rizzo, “which will be a likely scenario anywhere we go in the Pacific.”