Expressions of intensity and gratification were apparent on their faces as they gripped the powerful weapon in their arms and awaited the thunderous roar.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Specialists of the 110th Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) from Joint Base Lewis-McChord witnessed the force of the Barrett M107 .50 caliber sniper rifle, Feb. 24, while firing the weapon during a familiarization range at a Pierce County Sheriff's Department range in Roy, Wash.
"It's very loud, "said Sgt. Ruben C. Lugo, an explosive ordinance disposal noncommissioned officer assigned to Bravo Company, 110th Chemical Battalion."The kick behind it is like nothing you've ever experienced. It's extremely exciting,"
Officer Brian Anderson, principle firearms instructor for The Pierce County Sheriff's Department, controlled the range and gave Soldiers marksmanship knowledge that he earned by serving 10-years as a sniper on a SWAT team.
"On the military and civilian side the mission is vastly different, but the basic mechanics of shooting are the same," said Anderson. "They are they principles that help shooters do everything they can to make every shot consistent."
The EOD teams recently received the M107. The soldiers were eager to familiarize themselves with the weapons, said Sgt. 1st. Class Robert S. McQueen, an EOD operations sergeant, C Company, 110th Chem. Bn.
"In EOD we use the M107 more as a tool than as a weapon," said McQueen. "Typically what we use it for is disrupting sub-munitions, shooting fuses, projectiles; something where the EOD tech has to be far enough away to be safer."
Though a useful tool, it is not a weapon that they train with often, he added.
"This one was by far the greater of my two experiences with this rifle," said Lugo. "The first time I didn't have a coach, I just went out there and winged it. It wasn't very good. This time I actually had someone there to help me out, to tell me to slow down and if my sight-picture is good."
Anderson served in the Army for two years and the training was his first opportunity as a civilian to train Soldiers on a weapons system. It was also the first time the Sheriff's Department had M107's on their range.
"I could see the excitement even before we started shooting. It was like a kid at Christmas who got a new toy," said Anderson "That enthusiasm and excitement for getting those nice tight shot groups was very apparent. Even though they were enjoying themselves, they were very safe and very professional."
Their camaraderie and joyful spirit's brought back pleasant memories, Anderson added.
"I'm not out there handling calls anymore; I'm not going to be the one deploying. It is actually my honor to be able to give them training and experience that I've gained to make them safer when they go to combat because they are going to be ones that are doing this job, not me," said Anderson.
Article by Sgt. Ashley M. Outler, 28th Public Affairs