Army Weekend

It never ceases to amaze me how far technology has advanced.

I have wireless internet. In some really old barracks. On a national guard post. And it is actually a pretty decent connection!

The last couple days were filled with adventure and excitement, and a lot of down time in between. But I don't really care, it's hooah and it's army and I'm here to do my job and have fun.

I did have to get up at insane o'clock yesterday morning so we could get all of our gear in order, draw weapons, and get on the bus so we could make it to our destination in Montana in a timely manner. They just issued a weapon to us, and the supply sergeant was about to take one of the 16's out and give it to me and I noticed they skipped over a weapon. I was trying to figure out why when I noticed it had an extra attachment on it. An M203. Sweet.

So I asked if I could have it. He said sure, but asked if I was expecting to qualify. Why the heck not? I've never actually fired a 203 as an M16 before and was curious about it, so I got the 203.

Maybe not the wisest choice, as though the 203 is basically an M16 with a grenade launcher attached, the added weight of the launcher coupled with a different placement of the hand on the barrel (the bottom of the barrel is 2 inches lower), well, I now had to get comfortable with it.

But no harm done. Except for some reason I decided to volunteer for various tasks so I wouldn't get voluntold to do something I had no desire to do. And I got tasked with teaching how to evaluate a casualty, so I was lugging around a dummy with me. And I somehow stupidly enough volunteered to be Guidon Barer. What the heck was I thinking? I haven't done guidon in years, and as an E5, technically I'm not supposed to do that.

First thing this morning, I delegated that task out as quick as I could. One day was enough for me.

The range was fun though. Although I found a host of other 'excuses' for not doing as well as I usually do. On account of qualifying on a '203, my kevlar was to big, they made us fire in flak vests (which I hate), they changed the qualification round on us, we had to load and reload automatically, we only had ten round magazines, the sun was too hot, my foot was hurting, venus was out of alignment, so on and so forth. It took me far to long to zero, as I had to get used to the placement of my weapon in the prone position and get used to not really requiring a sandbag. Hell, I was all over the place, but once I got the thing zeroed, I took it and wandered over to the qual range.

We used to fire in the foxhole supported and the prone unsupported, 20 rounds in each position, but recently they decided to make the qualification range more in tune to how we actually fight in war. And, well, from what I understand, we really don't use Foxholes anymore. So we got rid of the foxhole position, and now its 20 Supported Prone, 10 unsupported prone, and 10 kneeling. A lot of people didn't really like Kneeling. It took me missing two targets (including a 50 meter, GAH!) to get it, but I loved kneeling. Prone Unsupported got me this time, like it usually does. But not for the reasons it usually did.

Well, usually we have a transition time when we qualify before, but this time, they just said get into your positions automatically. Given two ten round magazines, we had to change them out between shots and you move and your firing position changes. Then you had to quickly reload another magazine, move to the unsupported and engage the targets with only a few seconds to get comfortable. I had to constantly shift between targets until I got a good sight picture. And then its off into the kneeling position.

I qualified 26 the first time, which was qualified but considering I usually smoke the supported position and this time I flubbed it, I wasn't happy with my score (but I was happy I qualified first time considering all of my 'excuses'!). So I decided to see if I could go again, get a better score. I did, and I improved it by 2. Eh, Marksman for me.

Fine, I'll take the *%^$@# Marksman. *grumbles*

Other high points of the day included Hip Pocket Training in regards to me teaching how to Evaluate a Casualty. Except some other guy from one of the other companies got tasked for the same topic. I taught it once, then learned that they had the SAW range open so I went over there.

SAW is fun. I got in line and waited for my turn, then got a 25 round clip and got a quick refresher training on the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (er, the technical term for SAW) and went 'yay!'

I got down in the prone position, tried to get comfortable and my stupid kevlar flopped into my line of sight, so I was sitting there fidgeting around until I got a decent site picture waiting for the tower to give us the go ahead.

What I got was something like this.

"Engage your tar- CEASE FIRE CEASE FIRE!!!!"

A flippen dear decided to take a stroll across my lane at that precise point and we were forced to wait until it ambled on past. I had a perfect line of shot for the sucker to, but that would be a bad thing as deer are plentiful yet a protected animal on post. So once it had passed (we hurried it along by flopping up the pop up joe targets) I engaged my targets.

It took me a few shots before I got a decent site picture. But I took out the 100 Meter target, and the 200 meter. And a couple of the 600 meters. :) SAWs are fun.

However, my favorite range of the day was the 9mil. Usually I'm not fond of the M9 qualification range because usually you just shoot at a paper target and you have nothing to really gage your score against, so you can be consistently missing and you won't know this because you can't see where your shooting until your done.

This is the first 9mil pop up joe range I have ever seen. And it was a freakin' blast!
I'm not sure the precise range, but they had a slew of targets ranged from 15 Meters to 40, or so. Like I said, not precisely certain on the distances. The firing range was a little eratic, we had to practice dropping a magazine and reloading another magazine quickly. Sometimes just five targets popped up, one time ten, all in all thirty targets in all.

For having brief experience on that range, I took people's advice from the past with my handling of handguns and instead of leaning back with a pistol, which threw me off balance, I leaned forward and suddenly I realized that I LIKE handguns! I was getting comments that I was smoking that thing left and right. A couple of targets I might have hit if they stayed up a split second longer, but all in all, I qualified first time and I was getting a couple comments that I should look into getting into competitions.

Whatever the case, I loved that range, I wanna go again!

When we got back to garrison, we were then treated to a Urinalysis. Yay us. . .

Tomorrow should be rather exciting, with a lack of flak vest wearage. I think I need to get a few different poses with a 203 and make more 'Girls With Guns' Comic Book Covers.

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