While many Fort Bragg service members were eating a Thanksgiving meal in dining facilities across the installation, Nov. 21, Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were at work on Range 1.
The 2Fury Soldiers were conducting M4 Known-Distance Qualification training.
“For the M4 qualification, it is the baseline as we proceed from individual training into collective training,” said Capt. Devan Zimmerman, officer-in-charge. “So, before they can do any live-fire exercise, they have to qualify on their individual weapon system.”
Collective training refers to any team, squad or platoon-level, as well as company-wide maneuver live-fire range.
Some Soldiers are assigned the M4; others the M240, but the determination is based on factors such as rank, position and time in service, Zimmerman said.
A Soldier who gains experience, for instance, can progress from a rifleman to a grenadier (specialized Soldier) to an automatic rifleman who shoots the M249 squad automatic weapon.
During the Known-Distance Qualification training, Soldiers shoot their M4s from 300 meters, then 200, and finally, 100, said Zimmerman.
The training is important because it ensures that a service member, whether newly-assigned or veteran, is ready to proceed to live-fire training.
1st Sgt. Christopher Bolden agreed with the importance of training.
“It’s building the confidence in the men, knowing they can shoot at 300 meters and hit a target,” said Bolden, who also explained that the training verifies other capabilities. “(They can) adhere to the fundamentals of shooting and make sure they have a stable platform to shoot from.”
As a six-year veteran, Sgt. Joshua Barnett said he understands the importance of qualification training.
“The training that we get on a regular basis is pretty important, but this is important specifically because this is going to frame the rest of our training for the future,” said Barnett. “So, the rest of this training cycle is going to be determined by how well these guys do and what they do well on.”
Leaders will assess Soldiers on elements such as trigger squeeze, accuracy and breathing, all techniques that make them proficient, he said.
During one round of shooting from 300 meters, PV2 Jonathan Elliott earned a 40, the highest score among fellow Soldiers.
“I’m having a great day,” said Elliott, who joined the Army in January.
The training, he said, gives him additional weapons exposure since completing Basic Training.
It also accomplishes something else — “If we ever do get deployed, being confident is half the battle of anything we do,” said Elliott.