Written by By U.S. Army Spc. Kimberly K. Menzies
Task Force Currahee Public Affairs
Paktika Province, Afghanistan – Currahee Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, began incorporating the M67 90mm recoilless rifle into their squads February 10th.
“We chose to utilize the 90mm because we wanted a high-volume fire power weapon that would provide low collateral damage,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert B. Fouche of Columbus, GA, executive officer for 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div.The M67 is a lightweight, portable, crew-served weapon designed primarily to be fired from the ground using the bipod or monopod, but it may be fired from the shoulder. It is an air-cooled, breech-loaded, single-shot rifle that fires fixed ammunition and it is equipped with a manually-operated breech and a percussion-type firing mechanism. As a reloadable weapon, it can be used with optics and lasers to fire at night.
The weapon is intended to be used primarily as a self-defense weapon, said Fouche.
“The M67 will be used by mainly infantrymen in a static position,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nathan J. Hyman of Clovis, CA, master gunner for 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. “This means the weapon will be stationary, it won’t move unless necessary.”
“Soldiers at the outlying stations will be able to use this weapons system as a force multiplier, meaning that more can be accomplished with fewer individuals,” Hyman said. “Although we plan to use the 90mm in mainly a defensive posture, it also can be extremely effective being used offensively for ambushes.”
Not only did the M67 meet the unit’s tactical needs, but because it is not a newly developed weapon, Fouche said its use is also a cost-effective alternative.
“This weapon is a beneficial choice for three important reasons,” Hyman said. “The weapon has the capability to eliminate an area target using a 90mm flechette round. It is easy to use, meaning it does not require extensive training in order to operate. It is also a reliable weapon and it is easy to maintain in the harsh environments of Afghanistan.”
The Soldiers only recently received the weapons and have just finished the first training session, Hyman said. The training was held at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E and was primarily attended by noncommissioned officers who can then return to their companies and train their Soldiers.
The training consisted of classroom, hands-on and range training. The classroom portion covered weapon safety, function, use and maintenance.
During the hands-on portion, Soldiers familiarized themselves with various firing positions for the M67, such as prone, seated, kneeling or standing.
“Because the rifle is truly recoilless, it can be fired from almost any position,” said Hyman.
At the range, Currahees familiarized themselves with the weapon by practice firing roughly 150 rounds of 90mm ammunition.
The level of noise produced by the weapon firing will also play a factor in the counterinsurgency fight.
The M67 90mm was utilized during the Vietnam War and it continues to be a viable weapon for Currahees in Operation Enduring Freedom.