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Wednesday, March 17

10 March 04

The day after Base Operations we had the Convoy Live Fire exercise. We got to fire our weapons from inside our vehicles; a first for me and everyone else I know. I was the Convoy Commander for a convoy consisting of about 60 personnel, 1 Humvee, and six 2.5 ton trucks. Forty soldiers came from an active duty Armor battalion here at Riley. Once I got the convoy organized and did rehearsals of how to tactically mount and dismount the trucks, and review radio procedures, we did the course using blank ammunition. Then we loaded real ammunition and did it again.

First, the Armor battalion's 50 cal machine gun on the first truck engaged a target over 1300 meters to our front. Then we got to an area of the road where targets popped up on the left side of the truck and we engaged them with our M16s. Then later the right side got to shoot. Last, we dismounted and took up a hasty defense and engaged more pop-up targets.

The other cool thing besides shooting from vehicles was shooting using the automatic 3-round burst features of the M16. To keep costs down, the Army almost always makes us shoot in the single shot mode at rifle ranges.

This day was a big morale booster, the soldiers loved it. I chose two young E-5s to command the two trucks the 105th's soldiers were in. They did a great job. I was proud of the whole unit. From my vantage point, the 105th outshined the active duty unit.

The following two days of training consisted of how to 'harden' vehicles in order to protect us from mines and rifle fire using sand bags, kevlar blankets, steel panels, etc. We also honed our skills on the radio systems and encryption equipment we'll be using. Last but not least, we got to use the global positioning systems to navigate to various points on foot and by vehicle. These past two days have been loosely scheduled to give the soldiers a rest and a chance to run errands.

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