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Soldiers glad to be outdoors and firing machine guns in Grafenwoehr

Pfc. Branden Schmidt, an intelligence analyst with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, fires an M240B machine gun during an exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, April 17, 2020.

IMMANUEL JOHNSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 17, 2020

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GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Several soldiers with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade smiled a little wider than usual as they fired their M240B machine guns downrange at Grafenwoehr Training Area on Friday.

Like most people, they spend more time indoors and away from others than they did before the spread of the coronavirus.

“Instead of sitting at home, we are out here moving around, seeing what everyone is doing and talking to them,” said Pfc. JeanCarlo Ciprian, a signal support system specialist.

With a few extra range safety measures, including handwashing stations, they shot up the targets just like they would have before the pandemic.

“We are practicing social distancing, [soldiers] are washing their hands and wiping down the weapons after they use them to prevent the spread of germs,” said Sgt. Kenneth Jenkins, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 41st FAB.

The goal was for each of the 25 soldiers to hit six of 11 targets, which qualifies them on their weapons.

The M240B is capable of firing up to 950 cyclic rounds per minute, though it’s more commonly fired in shorter, six- to 13-round bursts, according to the Army field manual on the weapon.

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Spc. Nicholas Smith, a fire support specialist with the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, left, fires an M240B machine gun as Sgt. Eamonn Duggan, center, and Spc. Luis Garcia, right, observe during an exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 17, 2020.
IMMANUEL JOHNSON/STARS AND STRIPES

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