This past weekend I went down to Fort Stewart. Georgia State Defense Force had been asked to supply troops to assist in the training for National Guard preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Our job was to play the role of Afghans and Taliban.
GSDF has our own barracks at Fort Stewart. The Army fed us well. Breakfast and dinner in the chow hall and MRE's for lunch in the field. MRE's aren't half bad, believe it or not.
On Saturday, my team was put on a roadblock acting as "friendly" Afghans. Friendly being a relative term. The convoys of Humvees would roll up and have to negotiate with us to move the barricade.
Just to make in interesting, on the last convoy I was given a "rubber duck" RPG (inert training weapon) and had it slung across my back. When signalled, I reached for the strap. Bad move. The M240 gunner on the lead Humvee lit my ass up and I had to hit the ground and play Achmed the Dead Terrorist. The one thought that ran through my mind in the split second it took for him to target me was "God I hope he's firing blanks!"
Sunday my team rotated into the woods and participated in the ambushes. The Army was nice enough to issue us M16A2's and a couple of M249 SAW's. The convoys would roll up, stop for an IED (very loud pyro, by the way), and we'd get the radio call to engage. Since I was a good boy, they gave me an M249 for one of the ambushes. The M249, for those who don't know, is a 5.56mm belt-fed light machine gun. Light being a relative term as it weighs a little over 20 pounds when loaded with a 200 round belt.
Needless to say, after laying out in the woods in the rain for a half hour, you learn that blanks aren't 100% waterproof. So when the ambush started, I pulled the trigger, felt the bolt go forward, and got nothing. Had to hit the deck and snatch some rounds off the belt and reload quickly. Didn't do too bad considering the minimal amount of familiarization I was given on the weapon.