News: M9 competition boosts morale, improves skills
Story by Sgt. Ruth Pagan
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – As the deployment begins to come to an end, there is an ongoing campaign to fight complacency. When soldiers get too comfortable or complacent, accidents can happen and people could get hurt. As a way to improve morale and counteract complacency, an M9 competition was held at Camp Nathan Smith, March 9.
“We shot three courses of fire,” said Maj. Darren LoRé, the chief of operations for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who organized the event. “The first two stages were standing so everyone had to work all their pistol skills. They had to come from the holster, change magazines, engage targets, reload and engage targets. In the third stage, shooters had to do everything:
present their pistol, reload and maneuver while shooting targets.”
The competition was open to anyone willing to participate.
"We had 21 shooters from across the Combined Task Force Warhorse and eight units were represented here,” said Lt. Col. Dana Stowell, the brigade executive officer. “This was a really good opportunity for soldiers to get together and have some competition while enhancing our war fighting skills.”
“The participants ranged from beginners to advanced shooters,” said 1st Lt. Lee Robinson, the fire support officer for 561st Military Police Company attached to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., who was the overall winner of the competition. “Regardless of soldiers' shooting backgrounds, I think everyone had a good time.”
“I wanted to make sure everyone was very comfortable with what they were doing,” LoRé said.
The competition had a relaxed atmosphere with a heavy emphasis on safety.
“We laid out a good safety brief, and with a course like this, you have an NCO range safety officer walking with you,” LoRé said. “So, if you have an issue they just stop you right there.”
The event was meant to bring soldiers together as well as train in the form of friendly competition.
“I really enjoyed the CNS pistol competition,” Robinson said. “Major LoRé set up a fun and realistic course. The competition was a good break in the weekly routine.”
“I had a great time,” said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Agustin, a medical operations NCO with the 445th Civil Affairs Detachment attached to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., who won second place in the competition. “Morale events like this make a difference to soldiers who need a break.”
“Getting a chance to practice those perishable skills, to rehearse and do the things we would be called upon in combat, the better we are,” Stowell said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Sgt. Margaret Stokes, a geo spatial analyst with Company A, Cryptology Support Team 26 attached to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “I think even state side we should do competitions like this, especially since it gets soldiers acclimated to weapons they don’t normally use.”
“It really was counter complacency,” said LoRe. “It is important for us to be proficient with our side arm. When you’re in a gun fight, time is critical so you need to be very quick with your pistol. If you practice you will get faster.”
Date Posted:03.24.2012 02:56
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