Guardians hold weapons qualification week
December 23, 2013
DAEGU GARRISON -- The Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment "Guardians" deployed to Warrior Base to hone their firing skills, Nov. 17 - 23.
The entire battalion convoyed from Camp Carroll to spend a full week on weapons training, or as the Guardians call it, "range density."
The Story Live Fire complex on Warrior Base is home to New Mexico Range, also known as "Nightmare Range" due to its difficult series of targets that pop up for mere seconds at a time before folding back down.
Even the weather was challenging, with the harsh Korean winter setting in. Pvt. Jane Hwang, an administrative clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, let neither the frigid temperature nor the "Nightmare Range" stop her from successfully qualifying with her rifle.
"It was so cold I couldn't feel my fingertips and my gloves did not help," said Hwang.
Shooting at pop-up targets, even on "Nightmare Range" in the cold, is preferable to shooting at paper targets back on Camp Carroll, Hwang explained.
The Air Defenders fired their M16 A2 rifles, M249 squad automatic weapons, M9 Beretta pistols, M2 .50 caliber machine guns, Mark 19 automatic grenade launchers and M203 grenade launchers.
Figuring out how much ammunition is needed for the various weapon systems is a daunting task but crucial to the battalion's success, said Spc. Anthony Nunez, the battalion ammunition clerk.
"It's a lot of [math] to get the numbers right so that you don't run out of ammo or draw too much," said Nunez.
Spc. Danielle Howe, a command group clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, qualified as an "expert" on the M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
"It was great to conduct a battalion event and this was the first time I fired the M2," said Howe. "[Qualifying 'expert'] was a plus for me."
Spending a week training on weapons was a positive experience for the Soldier.
"I am looking forward to do it again," said Howe.