Clasping the grip in his left hand, the Paratrooper purposefully positioned the RPG-7D Anti-Tank Grenade Launcher over his right shoulder. An anti-tank grenade was loaded into the weapon. He peered down the scope and acquired his target, a tank approximately 150 meters downrange.
This was the sight for Paratroopers assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, who had the opportunity to fire an RPG during live-fire anti-tank training alongside Polish allies from the 16th Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade, at Studnica Range in Studnica, Poland, Oct. 29, 2016.
“When the (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missile) system goes down, a lot of times Soldiers have to rely on the (M136) AT4 to be their secondary or back-up anti-tank weapon,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Dimico, senior enlisted advisor, D Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. “We are trying to build proficiency today, hitting the targets with our secondary weapon system and at the same time gaining familiarity with the RPG system that the Polish use.”
The “Sky Soldiers” of D Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., are on a training rotation in support of Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. led effort in Eastern Europe that demonstrates U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.
Partner nation training of this kind is about more than just the Atlantic Resolve training mission, Dimico explained.
“The RPG is widely used across the battlefield,” Dimico said. “So you might come across it or find yourself in a situation where you need to use that weapon system. The more familiar our Soldiers become with that weapon system, the better off we will be.”
In addition to establishing weapon familiarity, the paratroopers were also able to share tactics and training methods.
With just a few years of experience in the Polish army, Pvt. Paweł Tylek, paratrooper, 16th Polish Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade, expressed his eagerness to learn how the U.S. Paratroopers train and share that knowledge among his peers.
“I think it’s good because we are allies,” Tylek said. “We can exchange experience and try each other’s weapons. It’s something we can use in the future.”
The Paratroopers also conducted live-fire training on the M320 grenade launcher and .50-caliber machine guns.
Dimico said the first step toward making sure the paratroopers are prepared to execute collective tasks as a platoon or company-sized element was to make sure they were proficient at individual tasks first.
“A range like this is the foundation and stepping stone to get up to that next level,” said Spc. Christian Shroyer, infantryman, D Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt.