DOÑA ANA RANGE, N.M. – One after the other, 16 gunners scanned the range for targets from the turrets of Bradley Fighting Vehicles. When one popped up, their eyes locked on it with one intention: to make a solid hit with the best means available.
In this case, that meant the M242 Bushmaster 25mm Chain Gun, loaded with M910 TPDS-T or M793 TP-T rounds, or the M240 machine gun, loaded with 7.62mm rounds.
This was Table IV gunnery training with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Range 66B Oct. 12, 2018. Sgt. 1st Class Ty Tyner, 1st Platoon platoon sergeant and troop Bradley master gunner, said the aim was to increase the troop’s lethality.
“This is important because ultimately we are training to be able to fight wars, so this is the basics of learning how to operate your Bradley and work as a crew to efficiently use equipment to take it to the enemy,” Tyner said.
Lt. Col. Jon Genge, commander, 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., was on site for the training and said the unit’s gunnery tables are designed to bring Soldiers basic, fundamental training that will make them proficient for war.
“We’re seeing if all the springs and all the levers, if they’re all lubricated and they all work,” Genge said. “We’re seeing if you can you make it actually get the 25mm rounds into the feed shoot up into the weapon.”
Table IV is the first table where Soldiers use live rounds to prepare them for Table VI, their qualification table, Genge said, and the targets for Table IV are actually smaller than they are for Table VI.
The half-scale targets work well for training Soldiers to identify vehicles and targets, and Tyner designed it that way so Soldiers would be fully prepared for the rigors of Table VI, Genge said.
In addition, the training builds the troop’s strength as a whole, said Capt. Kevin Graham, commander, Troop C, 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt.
“Along with our crew lethality, we’re also building our maintenance processes to get (the troop’s Bradleys) back up and operational. So that way when we go shoot in January, we can be successful,” Graham said. “A lot of maintenance is happening.”
First Lt. Greg Walker, Troop C executive officer, said the purpose of cavalry units such as 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt. is to conduct reconnaissance so brigade leaders can develop well informed plans.
Bradley crews consist of a commander, driver and gunner, but they also carry cavalry scouts who can dismount and gather information, Walker said.
“The way it works is the Bradleys will pull up to what’s called the ‘stream line’ and they’ll start to gather information on what they see and engage if necessary,” Walker said. “If not, depending on the type of reconnaissance we’re performing, we’ll push out the dismounts and the dismounts will go establish ops even further forward.”
Spc. Gavin Tomeny, who has been assigned to Troop C for two years and has been through gunneries and deployments with the unit, said gunnery training allows Soldiers to work through unexpected issues.
“I think the biggest thing is getting the guys the hands-on experience with actually shooting the Bradleys and knowing how the weapon works, how the weapon shoots, knowing what happens and what they need to do when there is a malfunction,” Tomeny said. “There are a lot of things that until you’re actually in the middle of something, and it happens while you’re trying to engage a target, (you don’t know how to fix). You get a better learning experience from all that.”
Author+Photographer: Wendy Brown – Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs