FORT DEVENS, Mass –
Nineteen Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard attended the unit armorers’ course at the 80th Training Command’s Regional Training Site – Maintenance (RTS-M) Devens held November 28 – December 4, 2022.
Unit armorer is not just a supply function. Soldiers in a variety of military occupational specialty (MOS) fields – including civil affairs, signal, mechanic, power generation, chemical, mortuary affairs, fire support and military police - received the unit armorer identifier.
Spc. Emma Burbridge, a 31B (MP) from the 94th Military Police unit in Londonderry, New Hampshire, said she attended the course to gain confidence. “We work with these weapons frequently,” Burbridge said, “and I didn’t want to be intimidated by them.”
“Coming to the course gave me the knowledge I need to know how to properly breakdown the weapons and troubleshoot a malfunction that may occur at the range,” Burbridge added.
During the seven-day course, the Soldiers learned how to do a functions check, as well as disassemble and reassemble a number of weapons, including the 240B, M249, Mark 19, M2 Machine Gun, M4 Carbine, M16 Rifle, and the M9 Beretta.
“The hardest part was all the little parts that comes with the weapons,” said Burbridge. “If you get one part out of place, then it messes the entire weapon system up.”
Spc. Burbridge would recommend everyone in her unit attending the course. She said the knowledge they would gain attending the course would allow them to function smoother as a unit. They wouldn’t just be shooting weapons; they would know how they operate.
Burbridge felt that the instructors created a “think through” environment that allowed them to work through difficulties they were facing with the weapons, that way when they run into problems at their unit, they will be able to “think through” them and fix the weapons.
“I don’t just want my students to just leave with the [training manual], but I want them to have the knowledge they need to succeed in the military and the civilian sector,” said Sgt 1st Class Jerry Fumba, a senior instructor with RTS-M Devens.
Fumba said he wants to make sure he shares with his students what he did to get to where he is today so they can one day make it to Sgt. 1st Class and further.
He recommends people become an instructor because it is a humbling experience, where you’re not just a teacher but you’re a student as well. Overall, he feels that instructing at RTS-M Devens has been his most rewarding assignment.