FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, California--During the U.S. Army Reserve's and Task Force Coyote's Operation Cold Steel II held at Fort Hunter Liggett, California from mid-October through mid-December 2017, more than 150 Soldiers from the Pennsylvania-based 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command qualified on the M240B, a general-purpose machine gun.
These Soldiers regularly train for their combat sustainment missions closer to home, but training like Operation Cold Steel helps make them more lethal and combat ready.
"We spend a lot of time getting ready. Army Reserve Soldiers train for a minute's notice mentality," said Sgt. Brian Marcotte, a petroleum supply specialist with the ESC's 233rd Quartermaster Company. "I have 10 Soldiers in my squad. We are squared away and focused on doing well in this training," he added.
Marcotte and the other junior leaders in the unit like Sgt. Charles Whitaker have extensive experience with various weapons gained mostly during deployments. They differ from younger Soldiers with less experience, yet both groups benefit from training like Operation Cold Steel.
"We are working on our communication and leadership skills," said Whitaker who works as the 233rd Quartermaster Company's armorer. Communication is vitally important when operating a weapon that can rapid fire 200 rounds per minute and hit a target more than 3,000 meters away. A two-person team-a gunner and assistant gunner, can man the M240B. The assistant gunner helps the gunner find targets and manage ammunition.
"This has been excellent training," Whitaker said. He and Marcotte said they would take the various skills their teams developed during the training back to their home units to apply with other Soldiers.
Operation Cold Steel is an on-going military effort to get U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers familiarized with all of the various crew-served weapon systems in the military arsenal. The extended training will help make America's Army Reserve more lethal and combat ready.