Soldiers from 1st Theater Sustainment Command fired crew-served weapons at Heins Range Nov. 6-7 for the first time since establishing its headquarters at Fort Knox.

First Team ran 36 Soldiers through the crew-served weapons range, during which they fired MK 19 40mm grenade machine guns, M2 .50-caliber machine guns, and M240B machine guns to ensure the unit met the Department of the Army's qualification standards, as well as prepare the unit for upcoming operational rotations.

The range is just one part of 1st TSC's renewed emphasis on enhancing its force by training its Soldiers to the highest standards, said Capt. Petro Mycio, operations and training officer, 1st Special Troops Battalion.

"Our move to Fort Knox is complete," he said. "Now we want to shift focus from 1st TSC's relocation from Fort Bragg and really make our presence (here) permanent. We're making training a top priority."

Master Sgt. Fernando Silva, the range officer in charge, said he could not be happier with the Fort Knox training facilities and Range Division and Logistics Readiness Center personnel.

"In all my years, this is some of the best support that I have ever received," he said. "(The training support staff) are all very knowledgeable and very willing to help. They really go out of their way."

To meet Army standards for each weapon system the command has in its arsenal, four Soldiers must qualify on the MK 19, 10 on the M2, and 12 on the M240B. First Team qualified 8 Soldiers on the MK 19, 10 on the M2, and 29 on the M240Bs.

"To be fit to fight, you've got to have more people qualify than you need to be at 100 percent,"
Silva said. "With (permanent changes of station), details and Soldiers going down-range, you have to have multiple people who can cover down."

The need for redundancy is particularly important for 1st TSC because at any given time, one third of its personnel are deployed to southwest and central Asia in support of operations, one third is preparing to deploy, and the final third is recovering from a recent deployment.

Despite this intense operational tempo, 1st TSC is committed to maintaining the best trained sustainment force in the Army, Mycio said.

"You're going to fight as you train, and you're going to sustain as you train," he said. "Athletes train for their profession -- the military needs to train for theirs. Skills and confidence develop through training and repetition."

As part of the unit's initiative to enhance training, leaders are implementing what they call Blackjack Training Time, Mycio said. Every Thursday, Soldiers will be trained on a rotating schedule of administrative tasks, warrior tasks and battle drills, and leader professional development. As part of this, unit sections will also conduct warrior-focused physical readiness training in the morning.

"By doing this, we're not only going to meet the Department of the Army requirements … we're also going to create multifaceted Soldiers who not only know how to shoot, move and communicate, but who also exhibit professionalism and leadership traits," he said.

The unit will conduct its next range in January and plans to run a range every month thereafter.