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Posted: 5/25/2005 2:39:28 PM EST
I'll bet that a lot of you guys would give up your left nut to sleep with an M16.

May 30, 2005

Safety concerns mean recruits are living 24/7 with their M16s
Army aims to reduce rate of accidental discharges

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

Trying to bring down the number of accidental weapons discharges, the Army has recruits living 24/7 with their M16s during basic combat training.

The round-the-clock routine began Armywide in February, building more weapons familiarization into basic and ending the strict practice of securing rifles in unit arms rooms when not in use.

Previously, recruits in training — like soldiers in permanent party units in garrison — would sign out their weapons and turn them in when training was complete.

Weapons safety long has been an Army priority, but a new approach to related training during basic was initiated more than three years ago when the Objective Force Task Force was charged with redesigning Initial Entry Training.

The task force wanted to improve weapons handling and thought then to focus on negligent discharges in basic training before bad habits could develop.

Most recruits entering the Army have little or no experience handling weapons, said Col. Kevin Shwedo, operations officer for Army Accessions Command and a task force member. And that was still apparent in many cases during the field training exercise at the end of BCT, he said.

Walking through the training areas, “you could hear three to four negligent discharges a day,” Shwedo said.

Echoing the “Train as you fight” mantra, the task force favored having recruits treat weapons the same as deployed soldiers do in a combat zone.

Fort Benning, Ga., adopted the new policy after running a pilot program last summer.

The constant contact with their weapons has had an obvious impact on the way recruits carry themselves, Infantry Training Brigade commander Col. Scott Henry said. “I can see the difference in the confidence they have,” he said during an interview last fall.

Brig. Gen. (P) Benjamin Freakley, commandant of Benning’s Infantry Center and School, said that seeing combat in Iraq convinced him of the importance of getting weapons into recruits’ hands as soon as possible.

“The driving factor to me is if you go to Iraq, you are with your weapon all the time,” he said. “We are just trying to get them used to the environment they are going to.”

Recruits at Benning receive an M16 magazine with 10 blank rounds of ammo with their rifle. Any time they leave the barracks area for training, they load the magazines into their weapons and chamber a round as if they were leaving a forward operating base.

When they return, they take the magazines out and clear their rifle chambers. The trainees then point the muzzle into a clearing barrel filled with sand and pull the trigger to ensure the weapon is clear, just as soldiers do in a combat theater.

Although it’s too early for statistical proof, early feedback on the success of the program at Benning prompted Gen. Kevin Byrnes to approve the training concept for all five of the Army’s Initial Entry Training Centers in December, Shwedo said.

Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Sill, Okla.; and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., started putting the change into practice in February. Each training center is responsible for setting up its own plans for ensuring that weapons remain secure.

At Benning, soldiers hang their M16s on the ends of their bunks and soldiers pulling fire guard duty make a count on each shift. All the numbers have to match up at the end of each watch.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:40:39 PM EST
Marine recruits have been keeping their rifles in their squad bays forever as far as I know.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:41:11 PM EST
The way it should have been all along.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:41:36 PM EST

Walking through the training areas, “you could hear three to four negligent discharges a day,” Shwedo said.



Beyond unsat.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:41:39 PM EST
I read this earlier and it'a about time. We only give them rifles to do BRM and expect them to maintain trigger control? I don't think so.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:43:05 PM EST
In my 14wks of OSUT, we only had 2 negligent discharges....

One was on the range with live ammo....

The other was in the CTA area with a blank as our CO was walking right NEXT to the end of teh barrel.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:43:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/25/2005 2:48:55 PM EST by CFII]
Um, that should be the way it always was. At least it will be that way now.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 2:52:50 PM EST
Back in the 80's we had to keep them locked up, we had a German Col come through our AIT company and he wanted to know where our weapons where. Our Col explained it to him as thus- we can't trust them with the weapons 24/7 as they might sell them. (carry over from the bad 70's when the Mil was fucked up with drug problems) the German Col just shook his head. (the west German army had draftees and we where all volenteer at that time.)

I was happy to see that My son's unit was doing it the right way with the troops having them 24/7 again.
(Ft Leonardwood)
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 3:24:54 PM EST
SweeEEeeTTT!!!!111


The Army is going to train with Rifles!!
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 3:35:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By DOW:
Marine recruits have been keeping their rifles in their squad bays forever as far as I know.



+1
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 3:37:04 PM EST
That is a very good I idea. They should have done it sooner.
Link Posted: 5/25/2005 4:02:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By DixieKnight:

Originally Posted By DOW:
Marine recruits have been keeping their rifles in their squad bays forever as far as I know.



+1


I don't think they do that anymore for the same reasons. I could be wrong.
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