Fort McCoy News April 24, 2015

Wisconsin Guard Soldiers train with grenades

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 100 Soldiers from the 732nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) of the Wisconsin Army National Guard recently qualified on use of the M67 fragmentation grenade during training at Range 8 on Fort McCoy's North Post.

Photo
Soldiers from the 732nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Wisconsin Army National Guard throw practice grenades during training at Range 8 on Fort McCoy's North Post.

"This was important familiarization for our Soldiers because they need to be confident throwing grenades," said 2nd Lt. Erin Steinberg, 3rd Platoon leader for the 1158th Transportation Company of Black River Falls — a sub-unit of the 732nd. Steinberg also served as the range officer in charge for Range 8 during the training.

Sgt. 1st Class Dominic Renteria, also from the 1158th, managed range safety during the training. He said Soldiers learn about grenades during basic training, but it's important to maintain proper, safe grenade-throwing skills.

"Going through this training is a really good confidence builder," Renteria said. "When (the Soldiers) can go through this, see how the grenades explode, and learn the right techniques, that confidence on how to use them builds up. Plus, knowing how to use grenades and not be afraid of them is important."

"This also makes (the Soldiers) more diverse in their ability to use different weapons," Steinberg said.

The training at Range 8 was divided into two sections. Soldiers first practiced with simulated grenades, then moved on to live grenades. They learned the proper arming and throwing technique to throw the grenade up and out more than 30 meters.
"Safety was the most important activity," Steinberg said.

On average, Soldiers threw two practice grenades prior to training with a live M67 fragmentation grenade.
Fort McCoy Range Officer Mike Todd of the Directorate of Plans, Mobilization, Training and Security said Range 8 is one of 31 live-fire ranges on the installation.

"It's an Army requirement to have a range like (Range 8)," Todd said. "It's a space ideally suited for the training."
Transport Motor Operator Spc. Craig Vollendorf of the 1158th said the training was beneficial.

"It's really a good experience," Vollendorf said. "As a Soldier, this is something you have to know and handle successfully. Also, Fort McCoy is a good location to do this because it has everything we need for it."

The 732nd CSSB is part of the 64th Troop Command, which has roles to enhance personnel, training, and equipment readiness; transform units to meet new requirements for modularity within the Army; and assist units during mobilization, demobilization, and reintegration following deployments or active-duty mobilizations, according to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

For more information about training at Fort McCoy training, call the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Training Division at 608-388-5038.