Breitenwald 300-meter range reopens after 4-year hiatus

Christine June
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***The reopening of the Breitenwald 300 meter-range on July 22 means that Soldiers assigned to KMC units will no longer spend an entire day for small arms qualifications.

“This range is very important because while it was closed, we had to drive to Grafenwöhr or Baumholder, which took key players out of the area all day and greatly impacted our ammunitions and airborne operations,” said Sgt. 1st Class John W. McKeene, 191st Ordnance Battalion Headquarters,

Headquarters Detachment Air Drop NCO, who was the range officer in charge on July 27 when about 30 of the battalion’s Soldiers were qualifying on M-16 rifle and 9 mm pistols.

The almost 50-year-old 7th Army Training Command Training Support Center Kaiserslautern Breitenwald Range and Local Training Area is located near Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The training area has 25- and 300-meter ranges. The 300-meter range was closed for four years due to lack of funds for renovations, according to William L. Pierce, TSC Kaiserslautern chief.

The 300-meter range is a qualification range for M-16 rifle and M-4 carbine.
“Soldiers have to fire from 300-meters, move to 200-meters and finally to 100-meters using 40 bullets total and hitting so many to earn sharpshooter or expert,” said Mr. Pierce. “Expert is the highest, second highest is sharp shooter and there’s another one, but we don’t like it. It’s marksman, but we don’t even shoot for that.”

Army in Europe Regulation 350-1 requires Soldiers to qualify on a 300-meter range, twice a year. Mr. Pierce said that the Alternate C course on the 25-meter range, which remained opened, was authorized by the U.S. Army Europe commander for this USAREUR qualification requirement during the past four years because the 300-meter range was closed.

“Company commanders could use the Alternate C course for this qualification while the 300-meter range was closed instead of going to Grafenwöhr, Baumholder or Mannheim,” said Mr. Pierce. “But, if their Soldiers needed machine gun qualifications, they had to go to those ranges because the Breitenwald range is for small-arms qualifications.”

The 25-meter range is for zeroing weapons such as M-16 rifle, M-4 carbine and 9 mm pistol, said Mr. Pierce.

“Zeroing a weapon is shooting five of six consecutive bullets together to make a zero into the target’s hole to get a good shot group,” said Mr. Pierce. “Once they get a good shot group, they should have no problem hitting that target 300-meters out.”

Units can call Hiram Leza at 486-8339 to schedule the ranges for qualifications.