Fort McCoy News March 24, 2017

644th RSG Soldiers gain crew-served weapons skills

during training at McCoy

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 200 Soldiers with the 644th Regional Support Group, headquartered at Fort Snelling, Minn., spent nearly a week at Fort McCoy in early March completing training.

The Soldiers, nearly 220 in all, completed preliminary marksmanship instruction, or PMI; practiced marksmanship with Fort McCoy's Engagement Skills Trainer 2000; and finished live-fire marksmanship qualifications for crew-served weapons.

Crew-served weapons used during training included the M240, M249, and M2 Browning .50-caliber machine guns as well as the MK19 grenade launcher.

Soldiers with the 644th Regional Support Group, headquartered at Fort Snelling, Minn., complete weapons qualifications March 9 at Range 26 on North Post at Fort McCoy, Wis. More than 200 Soldiers with the 644th and associated units were at Fort McCoy for five days of training to qualify personnel on crew-served weapons, such as the M240, M249, M2, and MK319.
Soldiers with the 644th Regional Support Group, headquartered at Fort
Snelling, Minn., complete weapons qualifications March 9 at Range 26
on North Post at Fort McCoy, Wis. More than 200 Soldiers with the
644th and associated units were at Fort McCoy for five days of training
to qualify personnel on crew-served weapons, such as the M240, M249,
M2, and MK319.



A Soldier with the 644th Regional Support Group prepares his weapon for live-fire qualification.
A Soldier with the 644th Regional Support Group prepares his weapon
for live-fire qualification.

"We were doing crew-served weapons qualifications for everyone who needed (to have) it completed," said 644th Commander Col. Dominic Wibe. "This was a rare opportunity to get this done with so many Soldiers from the 644th as well as its down-trace units."

Observer coach/trainers with the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade of Fort McCoy supported the PMI portion of the training. Wibe said he appreciated the support.

"The 181st has bent over backwards to help us," Wibe said. "It's been a great partnership we've had with them, and we appreciate all they have done to help us."

Master Sgt. Klint Knock with the 353rd Transportation Company, a unit associated with the 644th at Buffalo, Minn., said 18 Soldiers with the 353rd helped deliver the training on crew-served weapons.

"Some of us had completed this training previously, so we helped train everyone else," Knock said. "This includes coaching and mentoring as well as supporting PMI. These are important Soldier skills that are needed to meet requirements."

Spc. Christopher Hefner, also with the 353rd, helped train Soldiers on M240 and M2 qualifications. He said he enjoyed the opportunity.

"I like training, coaching, and mentoring other Soldiers," Hefner said. "Helping them understand (the weapons) and watching them learn is great."

Hefner said the M2 is among the tougher weapon systems to teach others about. The M2 was first designed during World War I in 1918 by John Browning and continues to be highly used by the Army today.

"(The M2) has a lot of moving parts and is very different from other weapon systems," Hefner said.

Knock also said the opportunity to train with Soldiers from all associated units of the 644th is useful. "This kind of training also gives us a chance to come together and learn from each other, which is good for everyone," he said.

The 644th comes to Fort McCoy to complete training annually, usually in April, Wibe said.

"We'll be here again this year in April," Wibe said. "This crew-served weapons training also may become an annual event here."

Both Wibe and Knock said Fort McCoy is their unit's preferred location to hold extended training events.

"I've traveled to a lot of places, and Fort McCoy's range complex is great," Wibe said.

"We've also had great support from the full-time staff here. We will come here (several) times a year, and the support is always great."

Knock added, "I've been coming to Fort McCoy for many years, … and we get great support for everything we need to do."

According to the unit mission statement, the 644th deploys to provide contingency and expeditionary base operations support. The 644th also provides command and control of assigned units during homeland security, homeland defense, and civil support missions within the United States.

When not deployed, the 644th provides command and control functions for training, readiness, and mobilization of assigned forces.