Fort Stewart Soldiers Create One-of-a-Kind Training Area
Range will let soldiers train on crew-served weapons
By Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor
4th IBCT PAO
Soldiers from 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, created a one-of-a-kind training area Aug. 27 on Fort Stewart, Ga.
The day began with soldiers from 731st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company clearing and then marking a path free of unexploded ordnance.
Capt. Ashley E. Philbin, the company commander, 731st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, said her soldiers needed to clear the path because the training area is an impact area.
After the training area was cleared, four soldiers from 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, who completed the sling load inspector certified course, connected M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers to a CH-47 helicopter in turns. The Chinook helicopter placed each of the seven M-113s in the pre-designated points marked off by the EOD personnel.
“We are putting in M-113s so soldiers can engage targets 100 to 600 meters away with crew-served weapons and call for fire on targets,” said Capt. Bryan S. DiPalermo, the officer in charge of the target insertion with 6th Sqdrn., 8th Cav. Regt. “This range will closely replicate long call for fire scenarios soldiers will see at the Joint Readiness Training Center [at Fort Polk, La.].”
The range was not completed without difficulties. There were many guidelines and regulations to adhere to.
“There was a lot of red tape, but at the end, everyone was there to make sure everything was blessed off,” DiPalermo stated.
One of the many challenges was sling loading the seven M113s.
“This is a unique sling; the reason why it’s so important is because it’s an uncertified sling load—by uncertified it means it’s not on any manuals,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua P. Hoffman, the target insertion noncommissioned officer in charge, HHT, 6th Sqdrn., 8th Cav. Regt.
“The M-113 was stripped down to meet the weight requirements for air lifting,” the Carver, Minn., native added.
DiPalermo, a Tucson, Ariz., native, said the newly completed training area is the first range on Fort Stewart that will allow commanders to conduct crew-served weapons firing and call for indirect fire simultaneously.
“This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in my air assault days,” said Hoffman.
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