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Minnesota National Guard
Traditional Weapon Gets a New Twist

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division attended classes on current operations of the M2 50-caliber machine gun, Nov 19, 2013

"The class is aimed to inform soldiers and leaders about the new features to the weapon," said Mr Brett Little, Small Arms NET instructor "The 'fifty cal' has been around for a long time, but new innovations allow Soldiers to operate the weapon safer and more effectively," added Little

The M2 50-caliber Heavy Barreled Machine Gun was designed by John M Browning at the request of Gen John Pershing towards the end of World War I for the use in engaging aircraft and armored vehicles The official adoption of the weapon by the US Military was in 1923 with slight modification for fixing the weapon to vehicles

"The M2 and its variants are used by every element of our military," said Staff Sgt Matthew Carkhuff, tank commander with the 2nd Combined Arms Battaion, 136th Infantry "Mounted on vehicles, carried by Infantry, fixed in aircraft or defending Naval Ships, it's a simple, effective weapon," he added

The new feature for the M2A1s is a quick change barrel kit for rapid, easy replacement of a barrel during combat The first versions of the quick change barrel were first developed during the 1970s and 1980s for changing out 'hot' barrels to continue firing Hot barrels can lead to misfires, cooked off rounds and inaccurate fire Every M2 heavy barrel weapon can be converted to a quick change barrel version with the replacement of only a few parts, including the barrel Barrel changes will allow the operator to continue engaging target while the other barrel cools off

Smaller caliber weapons used by the US Military are fixed with a quick change barrel option, both mounted and dismounted, for the same purpose Machine gun teams operating on the ground, away from a vehicle, rely on this feature to minimize damage to the weapon while on the move Whereas operation of the weapon does not change, constant drill and familiarization are conducted to reduce risk to the firer and increase combat effectiveness

"This is where our mission success starts, in the classroom," said Master Sgt Todd Martin, operations non-commissioned officer for Camp Ripley

Following this training each Soldier will go back to their unit and initiate similar training based on the information they learned during class This will allow leaders to apply the material to their specific vehicles or mission

November 20, 2013
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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