Newspaper Archive of
The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
August 5, 1976     The Florala News
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August 5, 1976

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IMAGE ©SMALLTOWNPAPERS, INC. ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHTED• ALL RIGHTS RESERVED• USE SUBJECT TO LICENSE AGREEMENT• REPRODUCTION, DISSEMINATION, STORAGE, DISTRIBUTION PROHIBITED• " ........ " ..... PAGE 6 THE FLORALA NEWS - THURSDAY, AUGUST 5, Photos by Jo Ann Mann The temperature seemed to stay around 100 degrees in the shade. Clouds of dust swirled up and over anything that moved. The Army fatigues, even starched, looked like they'd been slept in after only a few hours in the field in the heat. Still, the men of Florala's Company C, 1st Battalion, DIst Armor, Alabama National Guard, didn't complain. They toughed it out. The two week annual active duty training period for Guardsmen isn't expected to be easy, even though it's called "summer camp". This year's stint at Camp shelby was no exception. What time the men weren't out in the field, they were at the barracks. It beat living in tents, but the concrete buildings didn't give the Hattiesburg motels any competition: long open rooms with a row of bunks against each wall, no phones or air conditioning, bathrooms two buildings away. There were also the delightful details: latrine orderly, barracks orderly and KP. Company C is a tank unit. They and the other companies of the 131st Armor are charged with the mission of closing with and destroying enemy forces using fire, maneuver and shock effect. During the year, most of the company's training is done in classrooms. Summer camp provides the opportunity to actually train in tanks and review procedures and skills the men aren't able to at the armory. It means some long days and nights on the ranges in the tanks. The men go over day and night firing, using the arm length 105 shells, and machine gun .50 and .30 calibre rounds, They go through live fire drills with the tanks in a stationary position and the targets moving, then switch it around, first during the day and then at night. The final drill is a simulated drive through enemy territory, moving out three tanks at a time and firing at designated targets along the way. It's pretty realistic training. Each tank has a four man crew: the tank commander, driver, gunner and loader. It takes a lot of skill and team work to successfully operate the tank, with each man doing his job smoothly'and in coordination with the others. Summer campQ is the main time they have to work and practice together as a unit. Each tank crew was observed and evaluated by an Army Evaluator during "live fire" exercises. FIorala consistently came out with a pretty good score. "If something comes up and we're mobilized, we won't have long to train, and get ready to go," explains Captain Phillip Parker, company commander. "We have to be ready." THI WAS HEM UAffrlERS,for the two weeks at Shelby. Behind it were more block buildings serving as THE MEN LISTEN to the commander before manning their tanks. }. .... .... . PREPAR~1qG for a firing drill, the tanks line up on the range. IT TOOK A LOT OF WORK to unload the truckloads of shells needed for firing. ON THE OTHER HAND, Ioaamg the smaller 30 and 50 cal. rounds wasn't bad at all. ABOVE, crews go to their tanks and prepare for firing. Right, the commander supervises from his position in the tower. INSIDE THE TANK, the driver's got a lot to concentrate on.