Missouri Guardsmen study weapons familiarization, detection equipment
By: Matthew J. Wilson/Missouri National Guard Public Affairs
Missouri National Guard Spc. Andrew Smith, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, at Fort Leonard Wood, demonstrates the proper way to fire an M-16 during a weapons familiarization class at this month’s drill.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 11, 2010) — Missouri National Guard Spc. Andrew Smith prepped members of his unit Saturday for a future visit to the firing ranges by leading a weapons familiarization class.
Smith said his mission was to teach basic fundamentals of firing weapons.
“I wanted them to work on their shooting position, sight picture and trigger squeeze,” he said.
It was part of the drill weekend, which included another class on nuclear, biological and chemical detection equipment, for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 35th Engineer Brigade.
Staff Sgt. Roger Yarbrough, a Missouri Guardsman who lives in St. Robert and works as an active-duty instructor for the Incident Response Training Department on post, provided the training on the detection equipment, which included the Improved Chemical Agent Monitor, the M-22 Alarm, Chemical Agent, Automatic, and the M256A1 Chemical Agent Detector Kit.
The monitor is used by pointing it in a specific area to check for contamination, while the alarm monitors the air quality of an area.
“These soldiers, in the environment they are in, will use this equipment when they set up a decontamination line or as an advanced party setting up an area,” said Yarbrough. “They could have a road grader out doing something and hit unexploded chemical ordnance. The equipment makes sure the soldiers stay safe while doing their job.”
The kit is used to allow Guardsmen to verify the presence of a contaminant when the alarm equipment goes off.
“The next procedure if they verify a threat is to get into full Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear,” Yarbrough said. “Then they would continue on with the tests, continue on with their mission and report what they find to higher levels.”
Smith, the unit marksmanship coordinator, said sight picture is basically firing the weapon the same way every time, so soldiers get the same result.
“It’s your eye focus on the front sight, in regards to the target, and how to keep the same focus every time,” said Smith, who lives in Houston. “It’s moving the weapon off your shoulder and back onto your shoulder and getting the same focus.”
Smith reviewed the M-16 rifle, M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, M-2 .50-caliber machine gun, M-9 millimeter pistol and the MK-19 grenade launcher for the class.
The positive impact the soldiers take from the class will be seen on the range, Smith said.
“I shoot throughout the year, so I don’t have much trouble going to the range, but a lot of our soldiers don’t shoot throughout the year,” Smith said. “This refreshes them so they won’t have as much trouble when it comes to zeroing in the weapons on the range and then qualification. Soldiers need to keep refreshing themselves on the basics so that when it comes to annual qualification, it’s a smooth process.”
Spc. Rico Jenkins, who lives in Jefferson City, said the class was beneficial to him.
“I learned a little more about the components of the weapons and how to tighten up by techniques,” Jenkins said. “What I did before was hold the sling into my chest and the barrel of the M-16. Spc. Smith says I should hold on near the magazine well, otherwise it’s going to bend the barrel. It also takes away the stability when you shoot the weapon.”
Jenkins said he usually shoots the M-16 in the 32-35 range, which is sharp shooter. To shoot expert, he’ll need to record a 36 out of 40.
“With this instruction, hopefully I can get those extra two or three,” Jenkins said.