|By Spc. Brian
Johnson, The Real McCoy Contributor
McCOY, Wis. ó On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, if a
Solder has to engage their foe, that enemy may only be a matter of
feet away from them.
Soldiers from the 1434th Engineer
Company train on close-quarters combat techniques during their
mobilization training at Fort McCoy. (Photo
by Spc. Brian Johnson)
an instant, that Soldier may be required to make a decision over
whether or not the target that they are trying to engage is friendly
or an enemy. Safety and well-thought-out decisions become vital.
the training ranges at Fort McCoy, the 1434th Engineer Company learned
the importance of close-quarters combat techniques, and
Grayling, Mich.-based National Guard unit was activated June 11 in
support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They began training at their
mobilization station, Fort McCoy, Wis., June 14.
close-quarters combat, Soldiers are required to engage targets with
their M-16 rifle from distances of 20 meters to 10 meters, kneeling,
walking, and turning from an angle. With another Soldier less than
five feet away, safety becomes critical.
Soldiers bring their weapons up too early when they are moving, they
run the risk of pointing their weapon at that friendly Soldier. When
the Soldier does bring a weapon up to shoot, the target in front of
them may be an innocent person or an enemy. When that determination is
made, a Soldier is required to engage the target before it disappears
if it is an enemy.
1st Sgt. Timothy Lamphere said of the range and training,
"Close-quarters combat is an unusual mission for a vertical
engineer company like the 1434th. With a majority of the unitís
construction in or near urban areas, close-quarters marksmanship is an
essential skill. These skills are important not only for live
protection skills, but to avoid unnecessary fratricide/collateral
damage. The Soldiers of the 1434th adapted well to this new training
and performed with a high level of proficiency. This type of training
that is provided is essential and will no doubt benefit the unit as it
prepares for its rotation to Iraq."
Sgt. Ray Tompkins from Hartland, Mich., said that the close-quarters
combat range was well done.
were a lot of rehearsals that were done to help ensure safety before
live rounds were issued," Tompkins said. "The techniques
that were taught were well instructed and insightful. I would have
liked to have seen even more realism in the training than what was
offered on the range."
Carl Sammons of Detroit said of the close-quarters combat range,
"It was a decent range. The techniques that were taught were very
good. It was a definite learning experience for me. I would have liked
to spend even more time learning additional techniques beyond what was
1434th will continue training at Fort McCoy until late summer before
unit members go to their duty station in Iraq.
(Johnson is the 1434th
Engineer Company Public Affairs Representative.)