Open-door gunnery tests Soldiers' ability
February 20, 2008
The day was cold as pilots and crew chiefs loaded into a UH-60L Blackhawk with two M240s, setting out for a mission only a few get the privilege to do.
With the chilly air blowing upon their faces, the two gunners, stationed on opposite sides of the aircraft, were alert for their objectives.
Weapons blazed as the Blackhawk flew through the sky, with the gunners firing live ammunition. Crashes and booms could be heard from the containment area not far away.
The quarterly scheduled training ran through the beginning of January and was carried out by the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, "Wild Card" Battalion.
The training pushes Soldiers to perform their knowledge within the confines of an aircraft. Taking two Soldiers at a time, each is given the chance to fire upon the staged targets.
"The left side will fire during the first pass and the right side will fire during the second pass on the way back to our landing site," said Pfc. Ever Benavides, B. Co., 2-2 Avn.
The participating Soldiers had the opportunity to attempt firing twice, once during the day and once during the night, and are given approximately 200 rounds, with which they were instructed to fire upon silhouettes and terrain.
"The only difference between the day and night training is that when night comes around the use of goggles (night vision goggles) are needed," Benavides said.
Although the exercise may seem simple, small factors such as variations within the training climate and wind speed can have an impact on the outcome of the training.
"I think it is easier to do the training in the summer because you do not have the wind adding a chill factor like in the winter. Also, down on the ground you do not have a wind factor trying to push your weapon around," Benavides said.
This bi-annual training is the third and final part of a Crew Chiefs Annual Proficiency Readiness Test, which also includes class time and a written exam.