By Pfc Lee Seong-suNovember 18, 2012
NORTH STAR RANGE, South Korea-- The men and women who guard the gates of Area I installations gained added confidence in the use of their 9 mm pistols thanks to a two-day firing event held for them by Soldiers based at Camp Red Cloud earlier this fall.
Almost 200 guards from a private security firm took part in the firing event, known as a "range" at North Star Range, located on the south side of Uijeongbu, near Camp Stanley. The range was run by Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud.
"To be ready to shoot a gun anytime in dangerous situations while on duty, such as terror or some other incidents, is very important," said Kim Ha-bok, a sergeant of the guard working at Camp Casey. "The range is included as a qualification we have to pass, two times a year."
Security Guard Yi Young-jae from Camp Stanley also emphasized the importance of the range. He said there are always possibilities of danger even in a garrison environment, and guards need to be able to protect their area. Proficient use of their weapons is a key part of providing that protection.
In running the range for the guard force, the HHC Soldiers gave the guards primary marksmanship instruction, served as lane safeties and took various other steps to avert mishaps. There were none.
Because of language differences, the commands -- like the one for loading a magazine in their weapon -- were given in English and Korean. Staff Sgt. Jason Ferris gave them commands in English, Cpl. Lee Jae-gwang in Korean.
"There are many guards good at English, but this was a live fire exercise, which can make some people nervous," said Park Sung-hun, a security guard from Camp Casey. "If people can comfortably understand and concentrate on the Korean commands rather than English it is a safer environment."
Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Landrum, HHC's first sergeant, was in charge of running the range. He saw safety as the most important thing and the bilingual commands were a key part of that.
"I think giving the commands in English and Korean helped out very well," said Landrum. "If they don't understand English well, the language barrier becomes difficult and a hazard."
Besides arranging for bilingual commands in the tower, he also had Korean Soldiers on the firing line with the guards.
"Assuring that the guards understand how to properly handle their weapon and shoot their weapon and be proficient with it," was the main purpose of the range, Landrum said.
For guards, "not having much experience at the range and who are not used to listening to English, commands only in English can be confusing," Kim said. "But, they can follow with the Korean commands easily."
All the guards met their weapon qualification requirements during the range.
"I'm proud of myself to be qualified at this range," said Park. "It confirmed that I am having one of the basic abilities of a security guard."