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Friday, November 04, 2005

Foreign Weapons

Everyone going through BCT gets to qualify on the M16. In AIT, we get to qualify with other US weapons as well. Today we did something that few do in AIT - learned about foreign weapons - the weapons most likely to be used against us.

The class was divided into groups, and rotated around various stations. My first stop was to learn how to disassemble and reassemble an AK-47. It's a very simple weapon, yet effective for that same reason. It's simplicity makes it very reliable. Not accurate, but reliable. We learned that the average enemy we are likely to encounter is poorly trained in the use of the AK-47, making it even less likely that a given shot will find its mark. However, what the AK lacks in accuracy (especially in the hands of poorly trained combatants) it makes up for in sheer volume of lead it can hurl down range.

After learning to disassemble the AK, we had an opportunity to fire it. Unfortunately TRADOC will not let us fire live ammo from foreign weapons, but we did get to shoot blanks. Not as good as the real thing, but fun nevertheless.

After learning about the AK, I moved on to a station that teaches about the RPG-7 (RPG stands for Rocket Propelled Grenade). They are very cheap in a country like Iraq, with the launcher costing perhaps $50 and individual grenades selling for only a few dollars. The weapon can be effective if used properly. It can also be deadly to the user. We were told of a Marine in Iraq who was severely injured when an RPG he was firing "just for kicks" malfunctioned.

We also got to spend a little time with the Dragonov sniper rifle, and the RPK machine gun. The RPK is similar to the AK, but has a heavier barrel to substain high rates of fire for longer without overheating.

Part of the Psyop job is convincing the supported unit that you can add value to their mission. One of the instructors was traveling with a Marine battalion when they discovered a weapons cache. He picked up an AK-47 and properly cleared and disassembled it like it was the most natural thing in the world. Talk about instant credibility.


At 5:52 PM, Blogger matt said...

cool. i have enjoyed reading through all the archives. i think i will be joining the army once i get my associates degree in a few months, and this has been some good insight to what it will be like. keep em coming!!

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Eric Johannsen said...

Glad you enjoyed reading about BCT and AIT.

Do you know what specialty you're interested in yet?

At 6:12 PM, Blogger matt said...

well i am going to finish getting my associates(2-yr) degree in accounting this summer, and i think i am going to join the infantry, and probably do airborne. i am also interested in going to OCS but i have to see how that works out.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Eric Johannsen said...

When you join, negotiate hard with your recruiter to get Airborne school specified in your contract. They will tell you "you can always get that done at your unit". That's not exactly a lie, but it's far from the truth. Once you are in the Army, whether you go to Airborne School is up to the needs of the Army. They may or may not send you. If it's in your enlistment contract, you go for sure. One guaranteed way to get Airborne school is to join as a 37F (Psyop) regular Army. The prerequisites to become a 37F are high, but if you qualify, it's just about the best MOS in the Army.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger matt said...

yeah i have heard a lot about what recruiters will say. im not going to sign anything unless it is how i want it, and seeing the recruiting shortfall i hope it wont be a problem. i looked at the 37f MOS and the standards are high, but it looks pretty cool. im going to see what type of info i can get from the recruiter before i make a final choice.

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