Written by Sgt. Neysa Canfield
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affair
Fort Campbell, KY – Of the 26 NCOs, 16 were from the brigade’s Associated Units Pilot Program partners, 2123rd Transportation Company of the Kentucky National Guard and 1176th Transportation Company of the Tennessee National Guard.
The course covered assembly, disassembly, function checks, and maintenance of small arms gunnery and basic range operations. Small arms weapons systems range from M4 carbines to the .50-caliber machine gun.During the course, Soldiers received hands-on experience with the different weapon systems while following their technical and field manuals to better understand them.
“The course was created specifically for our younger leaders, such as sergeants and staff sergeants,” said Staff Sgt. Randolph S. Teitler, master gunner, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. “As leaders, they need to be technically and tactically proficient, and this course will help these young leaders sharpen their tactical skills.”
Junior NCOs, like sergeants and staff sergeants, are the most involved leaders with junior Soldiers, said Teitler, which is why it is so crucial for them to be knowledgeable in all systems.
Although the course will not certify the NCOs as master gunners, it will make give them enough knowledge on the different weapon systems to make them subject matter experts at the company and battalion levels, said Teitler.
Sgt. Shawn Miller, motor transport operator, 2123 Trans. Co., attended the course.
“Coming from a National Guard unit, we don’t get the opportunity to train or use certain weapons systems or accessories such as [M68 close combat optics], so getting this firsthand experience was great,” said Miller.
Following the completion of the course, Miller said he and the two other NCOs from his company plan to conduct similar training with the Soldiers of their unit.
“We will be working out a plan with our commander on what weapons systems we need to focus on in order to get our Soldiers proficient,” said Miller. “Our primary objective is training our Soldiers to standard and this course has given us everything we need to attain that goal.”
“This course will allow leaders to share what they have learned with their Soldiers, but before we teach our junior Soldiers, we as leaders need to learn what we are teaching to standard,” he said.
The battalion ensured leaders from the brigade’s partnered units were given the opportunity to learn about the different systems, said Teitler.
“We also wanted to make sure we included as many NCOs from our partnered National Guard unit because regardless of what component you are in you need to train your Soldiers, and train them to standard,” Teitler said.
The pilot course ran smoothly, and Teitler plans to hold another class in May for those NCOs from 2123rd and 1176th Trans. Co. who were not able to make it to the first class, he said.