FORT MCCOY, Wis. –
Soldiers were trained in cross vehicle communication, calling in air support and requesting a medical evacuation, all events that can occur when coming in contact with enemy forces. Using simulated gunner positions, they conducted each action and communicated with each other throughout the training exercise, being observed by weapons instructors and senior gunners alike.
U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Larry Dyer, acting weapons instructor based out of the 104th Training Division in Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., said that they wanted to put Soldiers into uncomfortable situations, so they were thinking about their actions rather than just going through the motions.
“We put this training together to make sure the Reserve side is keeping up on the Gunnery system,” Dryer said. “We are now making sure it goes to standard.”
U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Joshua Kohon, acting senior gunner with the 419th Movement Control Battalion in Bartonville, Illinois, advised and assisted Soldiers with the tasks they were required to perform. Despite the limited time available because of units rotating to in and out, trainers collaborated to create a strong training environment.
“Everything has come together beautifully; the crews are engaged, they’re qualifying to standard, and their motivated,” Kohon said. “That is one of the big things we ask for: motivation.”
Operation Cactus Gunnery previously covered small the Small Arms Trainer Course, a culmination of trainings that ended with qualification on the U.S. Army’s new weapon qualification with the M4 Rifle. It will continue with virtual simulation training, practice runs without live ammunition, and concluding with a live fire to qualify Soldiers as effective members of a convoy element.