“Army Training, Sir!”

Anybody remember Bill Murray in Stripes?

Every day, every week we add new skills to our repertoire, or refresh skills not recently practiced.  The upcoming week is “range week,” which means by the time I write next Sunday I’ll have qualified on the following weapons:  M9 pistol, M4 rifle, M249 (light machine gun), M240 (medium machine gun), and M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, (affectionately known as “the Ma-Deuce”). 

We qualify on the M9 in daylight only; all the others we shoot both day and night.  To aim accurately at night, we use all sorts of fancy sites and what we call “night vision devices” (or “NVDs”).  Every soldier carries both an M9 and an M4.  The machine guns we mount on our vehicles.

Ranges are fun as long as the weather holds.  There’s a lot of waiting around for your turn, mixed with anxiety about whether you will qualify on the first go or not.  But the end of a good day leaves you slightly giddy with pleasure, like you had just won a big game or something.

We put on a lot of gear when we go to the range.  Most of it goes by names, shortened to acronyms, that are new to non-Army ears.  Here are some examples:

ACH:  Advanced Combat Helmet

NVDs:  Night Vision Devices

ACUs:  Army Combat Uniform

Eye-Pro:  Eye Protection, or safety glasses

IBA:  Interceptor Body Armor

ESAPI (pronounced “ee-sappy”):  Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ceramic bulletproof plates)

MOLLE (pronounced “molly”):  Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment

IFAK (pronounced “I-fack”):  Improved First Aid Kit

I’ll stop there, because I’m sure you get the idea.  When I can I’ll post a picture.  The weight of this gear adds up, and each has various components and all sorts of little ins-and-outs that have to be mastered.  But gradually we become used to the load and comfortable with the nomenclature.

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4 Responses to ““Army Training, Sir!””

  1. E Says:

    Pete,

    What about the CSG (combat snatch & grab)? Dying to know what that is finally….

  2. Chris Brown Says:

    That’s a fact, Jack!

  3. Pedaldrive Says:

    Man, I nearly solved the combat snatch and grab, but missed the opportunity. There was a guy walking through the UCSD library wearing ACUs (how’s that for fitting something I just learned into the conversation.)
    As I passed going the other way I saw he had a 10th mountain div patch on his shoulder (that’s a rare bird out here in SD). Since the 10th is the most deployed div in these wars I figured he’d know. But he was moving fast and was too far away to stop.
    Have fun with that Ma deuce.

  4. Peter Molin Says:

    Answer to the Combat Snatch-and-Grab puzzle in the next post, October in the Railroad Earth.

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