Mortarmen of 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), recently showcased their range of mortar skills Feb. 3-5 during a biannual live-fire exercise qualifications.
“Twice a year we come out to get recertified,” said Sgt. First Class Peter Knotkins, a mortar platoon sergeant with 1-506, 1st BCT, 101st Abn. Div. “This ensures we are qualified on our fire-direction center procedures and crew gun procedures.”
In addition training, the mortar teams of the 1-506th Inf. Regt., were preparing for Infantry Week competitions at Fort Benning, Georgia. Red Currahee Soldiers took every opportunity to enhance their skills and mortar capabilities through training. Incorporating multiply aspects of the upcoming competition will better ensure their success in the future.
“This certification training consists of hands-on practical exercises, gunner exams, written exams, fire directional procedures and gunning procedures,” Knotkins said. “We try to include as much of the hands-on portion as they will see at the competition in Fort Benning.”
Fort Benning’s April 15-17 Infantry Week includes Best Mortar Competition, the All-Army Lacerda Cup Combatives Competition, International Sniper Competition and Best Ranger Competition.
The Best Mortar Competition inspires competitiveness and excellence within the mortar community, and features the Army Combat Readiness Physical Fitness Test, four mortar skills exams, live-fire events on the 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortar systems, night operations, land navigation, medical lanes and obstacle courses.
To represent the Red Currahee at Fort Benning, the 1-506th Inf. Regt. put together a four-man team of their most advanced, high-speed Soldiers.
“Our team is comprised of a couple Soldiers throughout our battalion,” Knotkins said. “We’ve selected some of our smartest and most physically fit Soldiers to take on the challenge.”
Although the training is demanding, some Soldiers find live-fire exercise exciting and fun while training along-side their brothers-in-arms.
“It’s super fun to come out here and work in our small sections together,” said Pfc. Sam McLarty, indirect fire infantrymen, 1-506th Inf. Regt. “Everyone is super close knit. I love getting the opportunity to come out, train and do what I signed up for.”