If I had to pick three words to describe yesterday's weapons qualification training I'd pick: brrrrrr!; bang!; and brrrr!
To say it was cold would leave some room for a bit of warmth. As it was, it was freakin' cold. We were at three different ranges to qualify with our M4s...one to zero both the weapon and the optics, one for day/NBC qualification, and one for limited visibility qualification, i.e. after the sun had already started to set.
Not sure how, but it was colder in the middle of the day for qualification than it was a 7:30 in the morning to zero. All three ranges did provide a warm room for breaks and for those not shooting, but still...lying on the ground or standing behind those shooting is still freakin' cold! I was an "AI" for most of the day...my assigned weapon is an M9 pistol...so I was assisting Soldiers while they were shooting and signaling the tower that these Soldiers were ready to fire. The late afternoon qualification was the coldest...it was an open, elevated range and the wind was just...icy. To qualify, shooters only had to hit 7 targets out of 30. Everyone got 30 out of 30...but people would have been happy to just stop at 7 and go back to the warm room!
Everyone qualified...in fact, the 211th has several shooters who can not only hit the broadside of a barn, but hit one of the nails holding the side of that barn together. Despite weapons jamming, optics malfuctioning, glasses fogging, and fingers freezing, everyone walked away qualified and more ready to go to Iraq.
This was one of the last major training events that we are scheduled for while at Ft. Dix. With each passing day we move closer and closer to our departure date...whenever that is.
On Tuesday we watched the inauguration of our new Commander-in-Chief with interest. For about 15 minutes, from noon until 12:15, everything around us just stopped and everyone was planted in front of a TV. It was a historic moment for everyone, but when we in uniform get a new "boss" we tend to pay attention. Regardless of whether one voted for him or not, he is the President of the United States and he is now calling the shots that determine our military destiny. I feel that we are in good hands.