Anyone that has ever run a range will tell you about the immense planning and preparation involved, this particular event being no different.
On a particularly cold, crisp morning of 7MAR20, Bravo Company of the 4th Battalion, 399th Regiment, 1st Brigade set out to execute an Individual Weapons Qualification Range with so many moving parts, few could rival it.
Our operation begins three months prior, with Cpt. David Homer designated as OIC and overall planner of the mission. The good Captain, an expert in delegation and manpower, assigns Master Sgt. Charles Wagner, a seasoned Soldier with countless excursions with Battalion-level exercises. as his RSO/NCOIC. Supplies are requested and coordinated with Battalion S4 (supply), training resources allocated through Battalion S3, and slowly the big picture comes into focus.
February Battle Assembly commences, and with it a plethora of range support personnel becoming acquainted and certified in their respective duties. Range boxes, now free of cobwebs, are laid bare in the common areas, inventoried and documented for deficiencies. Enlisted Soldiers with previous combat experience in deployments corral a gathering crowd into a huddle, teaching the group about proper use and function of the M249, M240B, and M16 weapons platforms. At this point, every possible preparation has occurred short of drawing weapons. March Battle Assembly, although scheduled for three days, begins at noon the day before with Bravo Company attending the Range Safety Officer class held by Fort Knox Range Operations. All designated personnel Friday confer with each other a plan of action and conduct rehearsals, conducting checks on personnel and equipment as they converse. Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction (PMI) is held to address Soldiers who may have had some level of unfamiliarity with marksmanship or their assigned weapons.
|WQ2: Staff Sgt. Stevens demonstrates proper stance at the conclusion of the Range Safety Briefing for Alpha Company.||1st Lt. (P) Guandique shows good stance and form as he fires his M9 pistol at a target 25M downrange.|
Finally, Bravo Company arrives at their Reserve Center 0530hrs on Saturday to initiate their Battalion event. Fast forward a few hours, and you witness a range consisting of Weapons Zero, the actual Individual Weapons Qualification portion, M9 Qualification, Reflexive fire, and concurrent training stations for those firers who expend their rounds. All of these events simultaneously occurring, simply not possible without the months of work from those involved. Awed by the sheer scope and smoothness of our operation, leadership of 1st Brigade and the 104th Division Command Sgt. Maj. Kaim and Command Sgt. Maj. Phipps, respectively, witnessed the event and awarded two enlisted Soldiers with 104th Division (LT) challenge coins at their site.