So there I was enjoying a two-martini lunch when the Battalion XO, Major Good Ideafairy, walks into my office and says, “Lieutenant…I want you to run a joint end-of-year weapons range with the Koreans next month.” Anyone else think this is how those “do’s and don’ts of range safety” videos start off?
It’s an annual thing – Army units have to expend all remaining ammunition in their accounts by September 30th or they don’t get any the following year. The logic goes like this – if Uncle Sam gives you 10,000 rounds of ammunition and one fiscal year to shoot them off, then failing to do so means you don’t need 10,000 rounds of ammunition. You probably only need 9,000 rounds and therefore you get a smaller allocation the following year.
So to avoid getting their ammunition accounts cut, most commanders set up a range in late September to go gun crazy before the end of the fiscal year. When you think about it, that means most commanders are cheating the system to ensure they have more ammunition than they really need, which puts an unnecessary burden on the logistics of the Army, but that’s beside the point. This story is all about how one dumbass, butterbar Lieutenant (me) planned, coordinated, and executed one such range and nearly got a lot of people maimed doing so.
The sheer volume of the ammo we had to shoot was staggering. The breakdown went something like this:
15,000 rounds of 5.56 ball ammo for the M-16
10,000 rounds of 9mm ammo for the pistol
7,000 rounds of 7.62mm for the M60 machine gun
2,000 rounds of 40mm grenades for the M203 grenade launcher
8 hand grenades
15 claymore mines
1 AT-4 rocket
Read the rest of the range report by Kelly over at The Rhino Den: