ORCHARD COMBAT TRAINING CENTER, Idaho – For Army Pfc. Samuel Oehring, who grew up in the rural areas of Texas and Arkansas, shooting was a part of everyday life.
Even though Oehring -- an allied trade specialist assigned to Forward Support Company, 864th Engineer Battalion -- has shot many other weapons, he explained that shooting the M240B machine gun takes a lot of skill and focus.
“The 240 has more recoil,” he said. “If you don’t pay attention to the recoil and tuck it tight into yourself, you’ll lose your sight picture. Also, if you put too much of your finger on the trigger, the weapon will pull left and right. You have to pay attention to the small details to properly shoot this weapon.”
Oehring’s company went to the range here Oct. 7 to fire their M240B machine guns during their battalion’s deployment preparation training. For Oehring, it was only his second time firing the weapon, and he admitted the first time wasn’t that great of an experience. He didn’t qualify, scoring only a 33.
“I didn’t do so well during the last qualification,” he acknowledged. “The [noncommissioned officers] have been coaching and teaching us on how to use the weapons properly.”
Army Sgt. Raymond Ramos, who was working safety at the range, said he ensures t
hat Oehring and the other soldiers in the platoon know every aspect of the weapon and not just how to pull the trigger.
“I first make sure they always clean their weapons,” said Ramos, a native of Pacifica, Calif. “I also teach them function checks, assembly and disassembly, and to know all the parts.”
Oehring later qualified with a 35, which is the minimum score to qualify. He was ecstatic when walking off the range about how he had improved.
“I just want to make sure they know what they’re doing before going to combat,” said Ramos, a 10-year veteran.
Oehring’s father served in the Army and was part of the reason he joined two years ago.
“My father passed while I was in [advanced individual training],” Oehring said. “I promised him before he passed that I’d do my part to serve my country.”
Oehring said he is looking forward to the upcoming deployment and is confident in his leaders' abilities.
“They’ve got us ready for whatever comes our way, and have done a great job at doing it,” he said.