FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. – Maintaining fire superiority is a basic success strategy for a firefight, and that means taking a few shots without perfect aim. However, soldiers in basic combat training chant “One Shot, One Kill” for a reason.
Army Reserve soldiers with the 744th Engineer Company (Mobility Augmentation) engaged in a live fire convoy exercise as part of Operation River Assault July 21, 2013, and learned the real value of a bullet.
Operation River Assault is an exercise that combines warrior-skills training with a river-crossing mission, bringing a mixed group of units into training together.
“The commander’s intent is to make sure everyone can send rounds downrange safely with no injuries to any personnel or vehicle and to establish techniques on how to shoot from a moving vehicle,” said Sgt. Rome Essex, second platoon leader for the 744th Eng. Company (MA).
Veterans of the 744th Eng. Company (MA), based in Ogden, Utah, strive to create an environment conducive to training, so younger soldiers feel encouraged to think on their feet and make decisions on their own.
“We’ve all been there – privates with no training or experience, so we understand there’s going to be a learning curve,” said Essex, a native of Riverdale, Utah.
As the junior enlisted of the 744th Eng. Company (MA) reached the end of the live fire lane, the lesson sunk in – they still needed to turn around, and more than half the ammo was gone.
“I tried to conserve my ammo the best I could,” said Pfc. Joseph Robinson, a combat engineer with the 744th Eng. Company (MA). “It’s a lot harder because you’ve got guys next to you spending all that ammo too. You need to coordinate and work as a team.”
Soldiers who still had rounds left pooled their resources and made sure everyone had ammo for the return trip, much more focused on their fundamentals of marksmanship.
“You’re not going to get an ammo resupply point down range,” said 1st Lt. Francisco Arocho, a range safety officer from Orangeburg, N.Y. “The point of the training is to sustain fire with good shots and minimal ammo expended – one shot, one kill.”