September 11, 2008

266th MPs prepare for Iraq deployment

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Sgt. Alton Sturdifen assists other Soldiers mounting a Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher to the turret of a Humvee in preparation for the live-fire convoy operations range. Sturdifen is a team leader in 1st squad, 2nd platoon, 266th Military Police Company. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va.— Virginia National Guard Soldiers will be departing to Fort Dix, N.J., soon to mobilize for deployment to Iraq, but before they go they have begun what is known as pre-mobilization training here. Training during the week of Sept. 1-5 included a live-fire convoy operations training, as well as quick reaction firing techniques.

On Sep. 5 the Soldiers of the 266th Military Police Company conducted convoy operations to help them prepare for their upcoming mission to Iraq where they will be training the Iraqi police forces. During the live-fire training, Soldiers of the 266th mounted Humvees with Mk-19 automatic grenade launchers and .50 caliber machine guns. They reacted to simulated attacks and improvised explosive devices just as they would on the main supply routes in country.

The lanes the Soldiers trained on are a part of the facility’s state of the art additions designed to give the Soldiers realistic battle-field training.

Soldiers of the 266th Military Police company fire the M-4 carbine during a quick reaction fire exercise. The 266th MP Company is training at Fort Pickett as part of its pre-mobilization training before deploying to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“We’re maximizing the multi-purpose range complex,” said Master Sgt. Greg Sabados, operations sergeant for the 266th.

While 1st platoon was busy running lanes during the convoy training, Soldiers from 2nd platoon was on a range close by, improving their quick reaction firing techniques. The Soldiers practiced firing the M-9 pistol and the M-4 carbine at targets within 25 meters.

The Soldiers were given time to familiarize themselves with the M-4, a weapon that was only recently added to their inventory. For many of the Soldiers in the unit this was their first time firing the M-4. For many years they only had access to the M-16 assault rifle, according to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Wilson, platoon sergeant of 1st platoon.

“We’ve been training with the M-4 and crew-serve weapons, such as the Mk-19, .50 cal., and the 240B,” said Wilson. “It’s getting us geared up for mobilization, and giving us hands-on time with the weapons systems.”

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