1140th's grenade practice hits training target
MACON, Mo. -- Some rolled under a strategically placed Humvee. Others popped at the base of a human-shaped target that represented the enemy. One even splashed in a puddle of water and offered more of a fizzle than a bang.
Regardless, the grenades -- actually grenade simulators -- were flying at the Missouri National Guard's Macon Training Site as the 1140th Engineer Battalion's Headquarters Company went through a grenade training exercise at the site's grenade range.
The Citizen-Soldiers -- who are at the Macon Training Site for their two-week annual training -- went through six stations, which called for them to throw grenades at targets up to 35 meters away. At some they had to kneel, at others they had to toss the grenade from the prone position and at others they had to throw from a fighting stance. One station even called for them to throw at a wheeled vehicle.
The training session offered some good-natured ribbing about throwing abilities, but the troops recognized the importance of the training and how crucial it is to know how to use a grenade and throw one properly.
"I like the set up here," said Spc. Dillon Rickman. "They went all-out. There's constantan wire, the building to toss it in a window, the targets. They gave us something to throw at. That helps training when it can be as realistic as possible."
The training could prove invaluable if the unit is ever deployed to a combat zone, he said.
"If we don't practice our jobs, we're not going to be good at it," he said. "If we're not good at it, we could lose people. Nobody wants that."
Spc. Vikas Chaudhary agreed.
"It helps to keep us ready," he said. "Every one of us needs to know this. It's important. It doesn't matter if you push paperwork or a cook. You never know what the mission is going to call us to do. Every Soldier has to know how to shoot and throw grenades."
The purpose of the training is actually two-fold, said Staff Sgt. David Hudson, the unit's training noncommissioned officer. Several of the Soldiers haven't used hand grenades since basic training, so getting them familiar with them is very important, he said.
"They also need to build on what they know," Hudson said. "They not only need to know how to use them, but they need to be able to effectively know how to throw them and how they work. That could really help survivability at some point."
Company commander Capt. Jeremy Zinn said he's pleased with the way all of the training has been going so far.
"It's been very productive," he said. "We've done a lot of things we haven't been able to do for awhile. Being away from the armory helps us to focus on training and really zero in on some quality training. And while grenade training isn't an official Army Warrior Task, you never know when we're going to need to use this knowledge."
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-800-GoGuard or visit www.moguard.com.