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comment by WanderingEng
WanderingEng  ·  107 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: [Trip Report] Combat Field Training 2017

Does West Point wear BDUs, not ACUs (or whatever they're called)?

You mention crew served weapons. I assume that means M249? Is everyone else carrying an M16? Or are M4s standard now? I liked the M249. I cleaned an M60 once. It was far too complicated for my liking. But it was suitable penance for getting to shoot it.

Is that artillery round 105 mm? Towed artillery piece? I was in FDC in my Guard unit but got down to the guns once and shot off a few 155 mm rounds from a self propelled howitzer. Fully detached powder bags, a breach the size of your helmet. Pretty intense. My unit switched to semi-detached towed 105s a year or so later.

Did you dig foxholes? Fuck I hated that. The first four feet wasn't so bad, then it just felt like it could never be deep enough.




nowaypablo  ·  107 days ago  ·  link  ·  

UCP (the digital one) is being phased out for OCP (current Army ACU that looks like BDU), and we intend to be 100% OCP by the end of this year. UCP is still authorized until then. Our gear was mostly issued UCP which looks so stupid but doesn't really matter, practically speaking.

Every squad has a M249 and weapons squad runs with two M240B. I've shot both, mostly blanks, and holy fucking shit is the 240 a monster. I've had to field-clean both but only the 249 in garrison, thank god. edit: we're issued M4A1 with auto instead of burst now. The M4 is a beautiful rifle and very satisfying to take care of. When we shoot blanks though, it can misfire or malfunction pretty easily.

That's a 105mm HEPD round, we shot from the M119 towed piece and a bigger one I can't remember. It's fucking great.

I want to branch Field Artillery so I'm really into that shit. As an LT I'll have a job in FDC, on the gun line and also as a forward observer (or whatever an LT's role is in FO, I don't recall that specifically).

No foxholes, thank god. Trainees weren't permitted to dig into the training grounds. That is a pain I will save to experience when I commission.

WP has a lot of former Guard guys by the way. Haven't met a bad one of em yet. Where were you?

WanderingEng  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I was in the 32nd Brigade, 1-120 FA. My home armory was in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. We usually drilled at home eight weekends, then we spent four weekends and our summer two weeks at Fort McCoy. Fun fact: I got out December 2004 after serving my six year enlistment. They were stop lossed in May 2005 and activated in August. I sometimes think how different my life would have been had I joined six months later.

When I joined we had 155 mm M109A5s, guns that had been obsolete for at least a few years, but that's how it goes in Guard units. When we switched it was to the M119s. In FDC we rode around in M577s, something that wasn't particularly comfortable or fast, but it looked kind of neat and was warm and dry in any weather. When we switched to light artillery we had to give up the tracked vehicles and stick with HMMWVs.

Guard members at the officer and NCO level are fantastic. E-1 through E-4s are hit-or-miss. Half are in it for the college money, and half joined because they got out of high school and didn't really know what to do with their lives. The college kids (I was one of these) are mostly pretty good. They (we) understood things like grid coordinates quickly. The sort of lost guys (at least at the time (early 2000s) my unit was 100% male) could be all over the place. Some were good at field stuff; ask a specialist who's been in for 4-5 years to set up the camo with a couple privates, and they'd get it done and done well. But some were just as challenged at taking control of a military situation as they were their personal lives. They seemed perpetually kind of lost.

As a lower enlisted (in the Guard nearly the only way to get E-5 is to re-up), my observation of the officers in FDC was if they had good NCOs and a good relationship with them, it was an awesome place to be. If one enjoys being in the field (it's called field artillery after all), it looks great. My NCOs were great. They really knew their stuff and worked well with the more experienced specialists and the younger guys and worked well with our officer. He knew when to step in and when to stand back.

I'm totally lost on the uniform acronyms. I had BDUs, and I heard about ACUs but never had them issued to me. Beyond that, no idea.

There were a lot of good times, and I look back on my time fondly. I'm glad I served and glad I got out, and while I'd have deployed if they'd told me to, I'm glad I didn't have to.

nowaypablo  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's so cool man. I think I love the FA community the more I hear about it. And we spend a good deal of time learning how to work with all kinds of people, superior and subordinate, because there are lost people and people trackin' it all on every level. I hope to a figurative God that I can be a good officer for my people in any situation. Thank you for the motivation.

Forget the uniforms lol, they change too often and the gear never keeps up. I just wish cadets were issued better rucks, the ones we have are dangerously shitty. I have maybe 2-3 months of anything close to "intense" field training and my right shoulder strap is about to tear off.

    while I'd have deployed if they'd told me to, I'm glad I didn't have to.

I know what you mean. I'm way too green to have any clue how I will fare on deployment, but I would be so ready to hit it when told it's time.

kleinbl00  ·  107 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I want to branch Field Artillery so I'm really into that shit.

My maternal grandfather's last project at Pickatinny Arsenal:

nowaypablo  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·  

i am aroused

edit: also my name is David so that's pretty hilarious