Northwest Iowa Soldiers Train On Grenade Launchers

Date posted - July 22, 2014

Fort McCoy, Wisconsin — Some northwest Iowa area soldiers are being trained in the use of grenade launchers during training in Wisconsin. According to a military press release by  Staff Sgt. Matthew GarveySmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon:

On a rainy Monday during annual training, Iowa National Guard Soldiers from the 3654th Maintenance Company and 2168th Transportation Company took part in weapons qualification with the M203 Grenade Launcher, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

Iowa Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ashley K. Holbrook, of Ashton, Iowa, a Soldier with the 2168th Transportation Company from Sheldon, Iowa, takes aim at a target before firing an M203 Grenade Launcher during weapons qualification at Fort McCoy, Wis. (Iowa Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Garvey)
Iowa Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ashley K. Holbrook, of Ashton, Iowa, a Soldier with the 2168th Transportation Company from Sheldon, Iowa, takes aim at a target before firing an M203 Grenade Launcher during weapons qualification at Fort McCoy, Wis. (Iowa Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Garvey)

The M203 Grenade Launcher, mounted under an M-16 or M-4 rifle, fires a 40mm round. It’s used in close support when artillery or mortars are not practical.

However, in order to qualify, Soldiers first needed to zero their weapons.

“To zero, they get six rounds. There could be more if they need them,” said Staff Sgt. Amanda R. McFarland from Fremont, Iowa, a readiness technician with the 3654th Maintenance Company. Each Soldier fired from a prone position at targets to zero.

After zeroing, Soldiers moved on to qualifying. They fired at 200 meter to 400 meter targets, from a kneeling position behind a wall and then standing. They were given 15 rounds to qualify as expert, sharpshooter, or marksman.

Eleven Soldiers from both the 3654th and 2168th sought qualification with the M203. For some, it was the first time they qualified with the M203.

“I have fired it before for familiarity, but it’s the first time for qualifying,” said Sgt. Craig A. Feagins, from Knoxville, Iowa, a utility equipment repairer with the 3654th Maintenance Company.

For other Soldiers, this was the first time they’ve even handled a M203.

“I haven’t fired the M203 before, I’ve only fired an M-16. I hope I hit some targets,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley K. Holbrook from Ashton, Iowa, a truck driver and full-time training non-commissioned officer with the 2168th Transportation Company, of Sheldon, Iowa.

With the rain continuing to fall, Holbrook began her qualification. The M203 went off like a shotgun, sending the 40mm round toward its intended target.

“It had a lot more kick than I expected. It was fun, a lot better than shooting an M-16,” she said.

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