I qualified on the M4 on Thursday. Check the box. It was a long, hot day on the range. In order to qualify we need to hit 23 targets with 40 rounds. The 40 rounds are divided into 3 separate shooting positions...the 1st 20 are fired from the "prone, supported" position. "Prone, supported" means laying on your belly with the weapon on a sandbag. The next 10 rounds are fired from the "prone, unsupported" position which means laying on your belly, with the weapon resting on the ground (basically balancing on the magazine). The final 10 are fired from the kneeling position. 40 targets pop-up for a few seconds at a time at different distances...50meters, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300. I hit 24 :) . Not great, but passing! It was really difficult as we were wearing the full "battle-rattle" as it is known...helmet, eye pro (like big clear sunglasses), body armor, molle vest (holds magazines and 2 canteens). All of the gear weighs about 45lbs...the body armor itself is 25lbs. So trying to lay on your stomach in all that is hard. Plus, it was so hot that the sweat just streams all over.
Thursday evening, after qualifying, we came back to the barracks for dinner, then went back to the range around 8:30pm for a night fire exercise. It doesn't get truly dark here until 9:30 so we waited around in our gear for an hour. The night fire exercise is a chance for us to get used to firing a weapon while wearing night-vision. It was pretty difficult to see the targets, even with the night vision on. The targets are either black or dark green...in the sunlight they are fairly easy to see, but at night they are almost invisible. It was easy to see each other as we moved around, but looking downrange in an empty field, the targets were really hard to see. But that was just a familiarization course, so we didn't have to qualify or anything. Got back to the barracks a 11:30pm, but I had desk duty in the dayroom from 1-2am so I didn't go to bed until a little after 2 Friday morning. Got up at 5:30am Friday so a whopping 3 hours of sleep.
Last night, went out to eat at a Japanese steakhouse. Was really good...stuffed myself like a pig, came home, chatted with Karina for a bit and then slept about 12 hours straight! Much needed. I think we are going to a movie tonight, but other than that keeping it pretty relaxed.