Story by Army Maj. William Humes 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (6/20/12) - Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team hosted their German counterparts on a nearby range and allowed them to experience firing U.S. weapons recently.
Pfc. Ethan Bednar, left, a rifleman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provides assistance to a German soldier, assigned to Task Force Kunduz, firing a M249 light machine gun during range fire held on Forward Operating Base Kunduz, Kunduz, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Catalin Bugan)
Army Staff Sgt. Shannon Lavada served as the non-commissioned officer in charge, for the event. Lavada has wanted to shoot with the Germans since arriving in Kunduz.
“I have been trying since January to get these guys over here,” said Lavada. “But bad weather or some other distraction would get in the way and cause us to postpone the shoot, until now.”
The first day focused on training the German soldiers on the subtleties of firing the US M4 rifle and M249 light machine gun and then giving them the opportunity to qualify on each system.
“We saw 27 soldiers in the morning and 24 in the afternoon,” said Lavada. “I was impressed with how quickly they picked up the weapons and how well the German soldiers could shoot our weapons.”
Day two on the range was a much smaller audience and involved shooting the sniper weapons from both countries. As a trained sniper, Lavada was happy to serve as the non-commissioned officer in charge for the second day of shooting.
“The sniper rifle used by the Germans is very similar to our [enhanced battle rifle],” said Lavada. “So it did not take me long to get used to it and shoot accurately.”
By the end of the shooting exchange the soldiers were engaging targets out to 900 meters. Both sides were grateful for the training opportunity and are looking forward to more events in the future.