CAMP CASEY, South Korea - Fourteen noncommissioned officers from the 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, participated in the unit's machine gun university Feb. 23-27 at Camp Casey, South Korea.

The week-long class on automatic weapon systems was conducted at the camp's Close Combat Tactical Trainer to expertly train leaders and hone their confidence in teaching machine gun skills to Soldiers within their unit.

Weapons used in the course included M2 .50-caliber machine gun, M240B medium machine gun, M249 squad automatic weapon and the MK19 grenade launcher.

"It is a train the trainer program to bring in NCOs across the brigade and to set a standard on these four weapons systems," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ladefian, the course's noncommissioned officer-in-charge and platoon sergeant for the multiple launch rocket system platoon, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde.

"I think the course is going to help them get more repetitions on their weapons systems and generate confidence in their ability to instruct," said Ladefian, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The course began each day with briefings and instructions on the individual weapons. After the classroom portion was complete students moved on to hands-on training. Leaders familiarized themselves with one system each day and performed assembly, disassembly, loading, unloading, clearing and functions checks.

The course concluded with a live-fire at Ingman Range with students firing each weapon system ensure training was successful. The range allowed students to practice what they learned in real life situations.

"It is fundamental for all Soldiers to be proficient in the weapons systems because these weapons systems get emplaced and employed to protect our assets," said Ladefian. "The machine guns are critical in our defensive posture and they help us with our ability to fight tonight and maintain readiness."

For some leaders, the class served as a refresher course to sharpen their skills by familiarizing themselves with the weapons and building expertise as artillerymen.

"It helped me to get more familiar with the weapon, I learned how to break it down to the lowest level," said Sgt. Marcus Gibson, a motor transport operator assigned to 579th Forward Support Company, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde. "It gave me more confidence and made me feel more professional about the weapon."