Fort Moore | Infantry OSUT

Hooah!! Welcome back for your Week 11 update. Your Soldier is now starting their second week in Black Phase. Continuing to learn the Infantry Soldier specific tasks and skills, they begin to spend more and more time at the range and out in the field.


This week your Soldier will be spending some more time at the ranges. They will learn to operate in an austere environment without the use of common tools we have become accustomed to like a GPS. They will also continue to advance their knowledge of different weapon systems. This will be a fun week for your Soldier.


This week your Soldier will continue learning and practicing with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in preparation for their qualification. The qualification process for the SAW is the same as for the M4 Carbine; the only difference is that instead of four 10-round magazines, the Soldier has four 50-round linked belts of 5.56mm ammunition. The M249 Qualification is quite challenging because of its belt-fed operation. Reloading an M4 carbine is as simple as dropping the empty magazine and inserting a loaded one, while the more hefty SAW requires your Soldier to open the feed tray, align the ammunition belt, close the feed tray and charge the weapon before re-engaging the targets. The more intensive re-loading process often takes more time and causes the Soldiers to miss out on targets.

After the M249 Qualification, your Soldier will be trained and familiarized with another machine gun in the Infantry Soldier’s arsenal – the M240 Bravo chambered in 7.62 x 51 Nato ammunition. It is also a gas operated, belt fed, open bolt firing machine gun like the M249 SAW and has the same basic principles of operation. As a medium machine gun, however, it has considerably more weight and range and is even more fun for the Soldiers to shoot.


As the week comes to an end, the Soldiers change gears from machine gun ranges to their Land Navigation Training. They were introduced to the principles of Land Navigation previously during Week 3 classroom instruction, but now they take their knowledge to the training area and apply what they have learned. In a four person team, they will work together to use a compass, a protractor, and a Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) map to find their way between specific numbered points in the training area. These points are simply small orange boxes mounted atop a metal post, and they are difficult to find in a large wooded area. Your Soldier must be precise in their calculation and movement in order to find the correct point and earn credit to pass the course.

The benefits of the Land Navigation training permanently increase a Soldier’s situational awareness and ability to figure out where they are in a variety of situations. Their awareness of cardinal directions, terrain features, and measuring distance will all be greatly improved by what they learn on the land navigation courses.  


We’ll be back in a few days to discuss your Soldier’s week 12 activities. They will be continuing with Land Navigation and conducting some live-fire exercises next week. In your Letter this week ask them what they enjoyed more, the M249 or the M240. I am sure they will be more than happy to let you know.

Are you including Stamps with your letters? This makes replying that much easier for your busy Soldier, since they won’t have to track down a stamp. 


Stay tuned for more insights into Week Twelve and beyond. Follow us on social media for the latest updates, letter ideas, and more.

That’s a brief look at the intense but rewarding journey your Soldier is on. Let’s keep supporting them every step of the way!

You can always find me via chat in the Sandboxx app or — just ask for Kris, and myself or another teammate will get back to you as soon as we can.


SGM Kris Broadus, U.S. Army (Ret)