The accident took place during the U.S. weapons portion of BCT. The training consisted of classroom instruction, dry fire, day and night live fire of small-arms weapons, and concurrent and simulation training on the M2 .50-caliber machine gun and MK-19 40 mm grenade launcher. The BCT battery was in week six of training and conducting simulations training on the MK-19 and M2 at the Engagement Skills Trainer complex. Because only a limited number of Soldiers could train on the EST weapons at the same time, concurrent training was set up outside to maximize the instruction time.
A drill instructor (DI) conducted the concurrent training on the M2 on a covered concrete pad adjacent to the EST buildings. The weapons were oriented toward the bleachers occupied by the BCT Soldiers. Once the Soldiers received a block of instruction on the M2, they all moved off the bleachers and got in line for hands-on training using dummy ammunition. However, unknown to the DI, a live round was located on one of the links with the dummy rounds. Although some of the Soldiers discussed how real the round looked, they decided there was no way the DIs would allow a live round to be mixed in with the dummy ammo. This proved a fatal assumption. (continue reading…)
What happens when you combine 43, M2 50-caliber machine guns, 11, 240B machine guns, two MK-19 automatic grenade launchers and 100,000 rounds of ammunition with a battalion of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division on a Fort Bragg weapons range’
And while placing rounds downrange and on target is a key skill, the first and primary concern of every Soldier on the range Feb. 5 was not accurate shooting, but rather the safe and proper handling of the weapons, said Staff Sgt. George Rouska, a 35-year-old native of Portland, Ore., and a petroleum supply specialist with Co. A.
“It’s safety first, and safety always.” (continue reading…)