[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        April 24, 2009
News

Range operations personnel support mobilization training

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

Fort McCoy’s mobilization range operations employees do more than just observe ammunition being shot down range by mobilizing Soldiers during live-fire training.

Photo: Range Safety Officer Calvin Marcellis (left) assists Staff Sgt. David Walker of the 464th Quartermaster Company load ammunition during an M-9 live-fire exercise. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Range Safety Officer Calvin Marcellis (left) assists Staff Sgt. David Walker of the 464th Quartermaster Company load ammunition during an M-9 live-fire exercise. (Photo by Tom Michele)

According to Scott Johnson, a range safety officer (RSO) for Team Eagle Systems, "We provide Soldiers trust and confidence with their assigned weapons, ‘marksmanship skills’ and a validation requirement for deployment. The training we offer to these Soldiers gives us a sense of pride that we have done everything we can possibly do before they are sent into ‘harm’s way,’ and a good feeling that they will come home safely."

Team Eagle systems is the contracted organization that provides mobilization range operations services for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).

"Currently our section is tasked to conduct live-fire training and qualification ranges for all Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who are mobilizing and in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom," Johnson said. "We prepare them as best we can for any weapons firing situation. Safe operation of ranges and weapons firing is our primary mission."

Team Eagle Systems also works closely with the 181st Infantry Brigade weapons team that conducts all primary marksmanship training (PMT).

PMT prepares and provides mobilizing Soldiers with regulatory guidance and standards that prepare them for weapons qualification and what will be expected prior to going to the range, Johnson said.

On the range, the RSOs are, at one moment or another, at the shoulder of every Soldier picking up a weapon and ammunition, and glancing at any of hundreds of targets downrange.

Photo: Range Safety Officer Scott Johnson (left) assists Spc. Deanna Lippert load a 40 mm grenade into an M-203 grenade launcher attached to an M-4 rifle. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Range Safety Officer Scott Johnson (left) assists Spc. Deanna Lippert load a 40 mm grenade into an M-203 grenade launcher attached to an M-4 rifle. (Photo by Tom Michele)

"We help the Soldier with adjusting the sights of the weapon to engage the target," Johnson said. "We want the Soldier to succeed. We see Soldiers come out to the range unsure of what to do"

"By the end of the day they become qualified with their weapon, and know they have completed a job well done. That’s the real satisfaction of RSOs working this job. Our number one priority is to help the Soldier." Johnson said.

Fort McCoy’s mobilization training includes weapons from the 9 mm pistol to the .50-caliber machine gun. That includes the M-4/M-16 rifle series, M-240B machine gun, M-249 squad automatic weapon, M-203 grenade launcher and MK-19 automatic grenade launcher. Shotguns and sniper rifles sometimes are employed in the arsenal as well.

Calvin Marcellis, one of the range managers with the Team Eagle Systems staff, said, "Our team works with every Soldier having a hard time manipulating their weapon."

"We are here to show them there are several ways to safely, successfully and accurately shoot a weapon. We can figure out one way or another for a Soldier to effectively utilize their weapon. We help build their confidence and self-esteem to do it," he said.

"We coach them on different shooting techniques and the fundamentals of shooting — body position, sight picture/sight alignment, trigger squeeze and breath control," Marcellis said.

Marcellis explained the complexity of the range firing process has the added technical-mechanical aspect of the different close-combat optics, night sights and lasers.

Marcellis also noted most Team Eagle Systems RSOs have served in the military, including Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Some of the team’s personnel still are servicemembers with the National Guard or Reserve. "We are prior-service, experienced personnel. It is a team effort, and a well-choreographed system," he said.

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]