By 1st Lt. Lucas BakerApril 18, 2017
ROSE BARRACKS, Germany - Taking to the range, machine gun teams and weapon squad leaders assigned to 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment participated in the Machine Gun Leader's Course at Grafenwöhr Training, March 22-24, 2017. Teams conducted training in two separate phases consisting of classroom instruction and live execution on the range.
The course's classroom phase focused on fundamentals covering machine gun theory and primary marksmanship instruction for light and heavy machine guns. After weapons familiarization gun teams moved on to execution. Crews progressed from base-line training including weapons zeroing and qualifying both light and heavy machine gun weapon systems and onto more complex scenarios involving night fires and the successful execution of displacement and support during a machine gun team competition.
"Overall, the training served to familiarize and certify a lot of new soldiers in our squadron," said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rendon. "We're trying to develop one standard operating procedure for the entire squadron so we can take one gun team from Lightning Troop, for example, and pair it up with a gun team from Iron Troop, if need be, and they're on the same sheet of music," added Rendon.
The overall goal of the training event was to ensure that all Soldiers were trained and confident in each aspect of machine gun theory, emplacement, and operations; and are able to competently lead a weapon squad.
"The training really did seem to improve the effectiveness of the squadron because of the build-up in training from the classroom all the way to actual emplacement and engaging," said Sgt. Carlos Rivera, team leader Lightning Troop.
The success of the course demonstrated the expertise of the cohort's weapon squad leaders in place. Participants varied from the most junior ranking member of a weapon squad up to team and squad leaders. This organization allowed the transfer of knowledge and experience to facilitate a better learning environment.
Graduates from the Machine Gun Leader's Course will now have the technical and tactical expertise to be competent weapon squad members, team leaders, and squad leaders - ultimately making the formation a more lethal force.
"I think it is great for the new soldiers to see what an actual weapons squad is capable of and what is required to successfully run it," said Rivera. "This training gives us the ability to really hone our skills and refine our ability to perform as one cohesive unit."