FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Soldiers are sharpening their skills at Fort Drum. Wednesday was the first day of a three-day long automatic weapons training.
On the shooting ranges at Fort Drum, the 7th Engineer Battalion of the First Brigade Combat team is qualifying on one specific weapon - the M249.
“We’re trying to train our best soldiers from E4 and below, trying to get them more familiarized with 249,” said Sergeant Omar Rodriguez, 7th Engineer Battalion, First Brigade Combat Team.
You want to hit your target or at least be close. The soldiers can't be close to one another because of COVID-19.
"We can't really be on top of each other. We have to keep our distance. Whenever we qualify, it's them shooting. We can only be in the back 6-feet apart. So we've been yelling out more than touching each other and letting them know since the loud rounds are popping off," said Rodriguez.
Units must qualify on specific weaponry every 6 months and on Wednesday the goal was to hit 7 out of the 13 targets.
“If you can qualify with a weapon that means you should be more familiarized, you should be able to know how to aim, especially when we have 600-meter targets out there. It’s not just hitting it spot on, you have to adjust the weapon. So if the soldier can hit those targets from far range, then it should be pretty much familiarized,” said Rodriguez.
The action on the range will continue through Friday.