By Sgt. Erica VinyardApril 7, 2010
Soldiers of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) are the first in the unit to train with the Ultimate Training Munitions 5.56 mm Target Bullet Rounds at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
UTM target bullet rounds are an alternative to "live" ammunition for Close Quarters Battle Target Based Training with minimal environmental impact. Soldiers equipped themselves with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, which uses lasers and blank cartridges to simulate actual battle.
"Soldiers can actually feel and see when they hit something," said Capt. Thomas Gearhart, 3rd platoon leader. "You get instant feedback, you can tell when Soldiers are aiming and not shooting blindly."
Live fire exercises succeeds in making Force-on-Force training realistic.
"Using the UTM rounds was the best training I've had in the Old Guard because it feels so real," said Pfc. Danny Gardner, who has been in the company since Oct. 2009.
"The UTM rounds bring a tremendous realism in training; they learned that if they don't take cover, they'll get hit and that's a lesson you can't learn with blanks." said Maj. Jeffrey Noll, company commander. "The motivation of the Soldiers was fired up which made them try harder."
These infantrymen train in the field a few weeks out of a year when they are not rendering honors in Arlington National Cemetery and marching in military ceremonies around the National Capital Region.
"These rounds let us get more bang for the buck with the little amount of field time we do have," said Noll.