Convoy live-fire helps keep Soldiers ready

By Spc. Steven J. Schneider
28th Public Affairs Detachment

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — About 60 Special Troops Battalion Soldiers, 13th COSCOM, spent part of their day Oct. 20 training to be better prepared for convoy operations with a live-fire exercise here.

The small-arms exercise mixed varying scenarios to give the troops as much of a lifelike experience as possible. Soldiers fired M-9 pistol, M-16A2 Rifles and M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons.

"I want the Soldiers to walk away with confidence in their weapons systems and themselves," said Capt. Kevin McPherson, 21st Replacement Company commander.

The scenarios ranged from taking sniper fire to returning fire in crowded areas. Injuries and deaths were simulated, and Soldiers practiced their first aid and reaction skills.

Although safety was still the most important issue at the range, the safeties tried to make it more realistic, allowing Soldiers to fix all weapons malfunctions on the spot.

"Training like this gives us a chance to just react and do it without thinking," said Sgt. Carlee Zacharewski, a Soldier who had to apply SPORTS to fix a weapon's malfunction.

She said they learned what it's like to be hands on, and that's the type of training that's going to prepare Soldiers for when they're in a combat environment. With the type of mission the 21st Replacement Co. does, they will be able to apply the training, said Cpl. Angel L. Torres Jr., armorer. Torres said his unit goes on missions as KBR shooters.

"I think it's pretty realistic other than we're not moving," he said. "It's going to be different because every situation is different, but at least now, I'll have something to go off of."

The two Humvees Soldiers used for the exercise were stationary as radio messages were passed back and forth between team leaders and a safety, simulating a convoy commander Soldiers would then react to fire, and engage targets while trying to avoid civilian casualties.

"It's better than knowing a target's in front of you and just firing," Torres said. "It's more realistic."

The training is designed to help everyone be as prepared as possible on convoys, McPherson said.


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