ROTC gains insight on new weaponry

This past weekend, the cadets of Gannon University’s ROTC program traveled the 40 minutes down State Route 19 to the Cambridge Springs Readiness Center (CSRC) to learn about some of the Army’s powerful weaponry.

CRSC is a Pennsylvania National Guard armory, home to Headquarters Company and Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 112th INF. Cadets learned about tactical vehicles, crew-served weapons, rifles and some high-speed gadgets that go with them.

The first weapon covered was the M-4 rifle – the basic weapon of an infantryman. This weapon has several possibilities for add-ons, such as night vision scopes, aiming systems and grenade launchers.

M-4s are used by individual soldiers, but cadets were also introduced to weapons that require teamwork to operate properly.

Using an M2 0.50-caliber machine gun SAW (squad automatic weapon), M240-B and a MK-19 belt-fed grenade launcher is the work of two or more men. These are heavy, can require at least that many to carry and need at the least an assistant gunner to reload and service the weapon while the gunner focuses on firing.

In a classroom at the armory, instructors disassembled the weapons, discussed their capabilities and munitions and helped the cadets reassemble them.

Cadets also had the chance to check out two military vehicles, a Stryker and a mortar carrier. The 1/112th is a Stryker Battalion, meaning that its main mode of transportation is the Stryker – essentially a cross between a large truck and a small tank – with a lot of armor and innovative capabilities.

They also were briefed on the capabilities and operation of a mortar carrier. This vehicle is a Stryker variant, and has been modified with an open top so that its crew can fire mortars from the vehicle.

These vehicles and weapons are just a small snapshot of the immense capabilities of the Army the cadets are training to enter. The cadets learned a lot about them but only had limited interaction with them this weekend.

Many, like sophomore CDT Mitchell Carroll, cannot wait for the opportunity to see them in action. He said that his favorites are the M240B, the SAW and the MK-19.

However, Carroll said that he knows that his time in ROTC and then in the Army will allow him to see these weapons, and many more, locked and loaded.

CATE FELDER

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