Those attending Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson do not just learn their Military Occupational Specialty, they are Soldiers first and must continue to hone their warrior skills.
Soldiers with the 187th Ordnance Battalion's Wheel Vehicle Mechanic School spent last week practicing those skills and tasks, culminating in a Mounted Combat Patrol Live Fire training exercise.
"A lot of these folks, once they leave here, will most likely be tagged for deployment and you never know what situation you will get in," said Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Means, an instructor with the school. "While they are skilled at repairing wheeled vehicles, there will be situations where they will have to go out on contact missions for recovery and they need to be prepared to react to enemy fire."
The MCP Live Fire is a training exercise at Anzio Range in which Soldiers load onto a 5-ton truck with their weapons and engage a course lined with enemy targets. Following a run of the course, Soldiers then dismount the truck, take cover and return fire in reaction to enemy fire.
"We teach them to look at the situation they are in and how to take cover," Means said. "When you are hopping off a truck you aren't worrying about cover, you are just concerned with getting off. Hopefully this training will reduce the amount of injuries and casualties."
Soldiers going through the course at Anzio Range first make two practice runs, one with empty weapons, one using blank ammunition before going through the live fire run. Once the final live fire run is made, a mock Improvised Explosive Device is detonated and the Soldiers scramble to get off and take cover behind the range's walls.
"The hardest part is hitting targets while you are going by them in the truck," said Pvt. Flavious Bensen, Company B, 187th Ordnance Battalion. "But it was a lot easier than when we did it in BCT (Basic Combat Training). I feel more confident now for what is to come."