• A Paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division fires a M107 Caliber .50 Semi-Automatic Long Range Sniper Rifle during a range that Program Executive Office Soldier had several new weapons at for the Soldiers to test. Also visiting the range was Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Carey, the command sergeant major of U.S. Forces Command, who came out to observe the Paratroopers during his visit to Fort Bragg.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Susan Wilt, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO)

    Shoot

    A Paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division fires a M107 Caliber .50 Semi-Automatic Long Range Sniper Rifle during a range that Program Executive Office Soldier had several new weapons at for the Soldiers to test. Also visiting the range was Command...

  • Sgt. Luis Viera, a Paratrooper from Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, checks out the XM320 Grenade Launcher Stand-Alone with Ladder and Day/Night Sight weapon that he just test fired during a range on Nov 5.  The grenade launcher was one of the several new weapons that Program Executive Office Soldier had out at the range. Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Carey, the command sergeant major of U.S. Forces Command, also stopped by the range to observe the Paratroopers testing the new weapons during his visit to Fort Bragg.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Susan Wilt, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO)

    Check it out

    Sgt. Luis Viera, a Paratrooper from Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, checks out the XM320 Grenade Launcher Stand-Alone with Ladder and Day/Night Sight weapon that he just...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Cappel, the 82nd Airborne Division command sergeant major, test fires a XM320 grenade launcher during a range that Program Executive Office Soldier had new weapons for the Paratroopers of the 82nd Abn. Div. to test on Nov. 5. Cappel came out to the range to observe the Paratroopers, while out there he decided to take advantage of the rare opportunity to test out the new weapon s that could some day be fielded to the Army.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Susan Wilt, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO)

    Giving it a try

    Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Cappel, the 82nd Airborne Division command sergeant major, test fires a XM320 grenade launcher during a range that Program Executive Office Soldier had new weapons for the Paratroopers of the 82nd Abn. Div. to test on Nov. 5...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis M. Carey, the command sergeant major of U.S. Forces Command, fires a M107 Caliber .50 Semi-Automatic Long Range Sniper Rifle, a  new weapon that's being tested. The Program Executive Office Soldier had several new weapons at a range, for Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division to test on Nov. 5. Carey, accompanied by the Division sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Cappel, came out to the range to observe the Paratroopers that were testing the different weapons, while he was visiting Fort Bragg. Carey was at Fort Bragg from Nov. 3-6.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Susan Wilt, 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO)

    Test fire

    Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis M. Carey, the command sergeant major of U.S. Forces Command, fires a M107 Caliber .50 Semi-Automatic Long Range Sniper Rifle, a new weapon that's being tested. The Program Executive Office Soldier had several new weapons at a...

FORT BRAGG, N.C.- It's not everyday that Paratroopers have the opportunity to test and critique new weapons before they're even an arms-length from the arms room.
But, recently on Nov. 5, Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division got a rare chance to evaluate several new weapons systems that they could be using during a deployment in the near future.
"The military is taking these weapons and putting the weapons in the Soldiers hands," said Command Sgt. Major Thomas Cappel, the command sergeant major of the 82nd Abn. Div. "They're letting the Soldier make the decision of what weapon he needs on the battlefield."
At the range the Program Executive Office Soldier provided the Paratroopers with a lighter .50 Caliber Machine Gun, weighing 40 pounds; several long range sniper rifles; a revamped 12 gauge shotgun; and a new grenade launcher that can be attached to an M4 Carbine or stand alone as its own weapon, to test fire.
"That thing is super cool," said Spc. Shawn Steinberger, a Paratrooper from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, after firing the stand alone XM 320 Grenade Launcher, the model that could possibly replace the 203 grenade launcher.
"I like it because you can actually utilize the range finder by itself so it's not so cumbersome and bulky," Steinberger explained. "But that thing is definitely cool."
Another weapon that the Paratroopers seemed to really like was the new 12 Gauge Modular Accessory Shotgun System.
"It's a great system because it integrates an M4 with a shot gun or it has a stand alone system, it makes it a lot easier than carrying the shotgun on your back," said Sgt. Joseph Cervay, a Cleveland native.
"It has a lot less kick than a normal shotgun," said Cervay, from the command group of Division Headquarters.
Cervay wasn't the only one impressed with the MASS System. Cappel, who ventured out to the range to observe the Paratroopers test firing, mentioned that he was impressed with the system as well.
While at the range Cappel, a Rockingham, N.C., native, took advantage of the opportunity to fire the new weapons. He seemed to favor the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System, which allows Soldiers to control various long range weapons with a joystick.
"I think the CROWS are excellent weapon systems that we need on the battlefield," said Cappel.
Cappel also took notice of the enjoyment that the Paratroopers were having while test firing the weapons. He pointed out, over the never ending gunfire, that regardless of the system that the Paratroopers were firing they were still getting good hands on experience.
"They're out here, they're firing weapons and they're having fun while doing it," Cappel added.

Page last updated Thu November 13th, 2008 at 17:30