13th SC(E) makes sustainment gunnery history

Photos and Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, Public Affairs Officer, 13th SC(E)

Fort Hood, Texas —Humvee and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected crews from the 406th Trailer Transfer Detachment and 96th Transportation Company, both of the 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), qualified on the Gunnery Table VI Crew Qualification Course as the first crews from a sustainment unit to do so at a range here March 26.

Five humvee crews and one MRAP crew participated using turret mounted M249 light machine guns, M240 machine guns, and M2 machine guns at troop and vehicle pop-up targets in various combinations in different scenarios to test the crews’ abilities to work together to locate, identify, and destroy enemy targets.

The gunnery consisted of ten engagements. Vehicle crew evaluators watching from a tower scored each crew – a driver, gunner, and vehicle commander – paying special attention to safety, speed, and proper communication among crew members which they monitored by radio. A minimum of 700 points out of 1000 and seven of ten qualifying engagements was required to qualify a crew.

“The Soldiers want to do this training and they’re getting the most out of it for their own safety,” 1st Lt. Josh Malden, 460th Trail. Trans. Det. commander and a La Junta, Colo., native said.

Pfc. Govinda L. Acuna, a 96th Trans. Co. Soldier was gunner for the first crew to qualify. His crew also had the highest score earning them the title of “top gun.” Acuna explained the challenges involved after his crew’s qualifying run.

“This is our fifth day actually engaging. The first day was very disappointing because it was my first time using the 249 and we didn’t know what to expect, but we expected to do better,” Acuna, a Gainesville, Fla., native, said.

“Today finally we kind of knew what to expect. It’s relieving to know we qualified … it feels good to be the first.”

Staff Sgt. Carlos Santiago, a 96th Trans. Soldier and vehicle commander of Acuna’s crew said, “I feel good about it, but it’s more because I want him to be ready to go downrange. Now he’s got that confidence.

Santiago said he was confident other crews would be able to qualify as well. “I did it with a gunner that has no experience in combat – only ranges before – it feels good.”

Santiago said his crew prepared for the gunnery by going over the commands in visualization “chair drills” and using the Warrior Skills Trainer, a virtual simulation. Santiago and the 96th are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan soon, he said. “This whole unit is trained, we’re ready to deploy,” Malden said.

Malden enthusiastically exclaimed the crews exceeded his expectations and explained their success was important so the 406th could teach other units how to do it too.

“We’re the subject matter experts and … we’re going to make sure that they are trained, can execute this, and are better prepared to go downrange.”

Malden said in the future a trophy will go to units qualifying with the highest score as “top gun” and offered a challenge to other sustainment units to try to take it. “If you have the opportunity to get out here do it. Until you get out on that gun and feel that adrenaline rush, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

 

news photoSpc. Robert Porter, a 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), gunner, fires an M249 light machine gun during Table VI Crew Qualification Course at a range here March 26. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs)

 

news photoSpc. Robert Porter, a 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), gunner, prepares his M249 light machine gun before Table VI Crew Qualification Course at a range here March 26. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs)

 

news photoSpc. Denise Drake, a 406th Trailer Transfer Detachment, 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), gunner, prepares her M2 machine gun before Table VI Crew Qualification Course at a range here March 26. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs)

 

news photoSoldiers in a tower watch and evaluate crews from the 406th Trailer Transfer Detachment and 96th Transportation Company, both of the 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), during Table VI Crew Qualification Course at a range here March 26. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 13th SC(E) Public Affairs)