March 24, 2012

The Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Course, Part 1

That post from Uncle Jimbo at Black Five got me thinking about the 18Bravo Course again, so here it is:

The Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Course, also known at the 18Bravo Course, is an experience that few have the cojones to face.  In this course you learn all manner of killing people, places, and things with a variety of direct and indirect weaponry.  Basically, it’s a gun nut’s wet dream come true.  The purpose of the course is to train potential 18Bs in the basics of their job: weapons handling, maintenance, techniques, and employment.

Lots of jokes going around about 18Bravos, you bastards, but I’m proof that we are at least somewhat able to read and write.  While I carried around a big box full of tools and spare parts wherever I went, myth and legend has it that an 18Bravo only needs one tool to accomplish his job:

A Big Fucking Hammer

We actually get these hammers to take the back trigger plate off the Russian DShK machine gun, but somehow during the course of our job they become the go to tool for every task and purpose.  “Fuck it dude, just get me the big fucking hammer…”

The 18Bravo course is broken down into phases: first you learn how to assemble, disassemble, and conduct functions checks on light weapons.  This includes pistols, rifles, sub machine guns, shotguns, some sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and machine guns.  I must admit, the MG3 got the best of me, damn Nazi machine guns…

Next you learn mechanical mortars (60mm and 81mm), before moving onto Forward Observer tasks, and learning how to run a Fire Direction Center.  There is also a week of Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft weapons, which includes familiarization and simulator work.  Of course you get to fire all this stuff out at the range.  It looked a little something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Vod8NUE0M

Oh man, the instructors got in some trouble for that video, but that is another story.  Next, we’ll talk about the final FTX we did at the end of the course with the 18E and 18C students.  Trust me, hilarity ensued!

(Featured Image Courtesy: DVIDS)

About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • JackMurphyRGR

    RogerDodger18B JackMurphyRGR Send your traffic brother.  I was half a second late on getting the buttstock on a MG-42.  I'm done flagellating myself over that fuck up.  I never had any interest in yanking my crack, but if that is the way you took it then it is what it is.  Watch closer, because this article is over a year old...

  • JackMurphyRGR

    RogerDodger18B JackMurphyRGR Send your traffic brother.  I was half a second late on getting the buttstock on a MG-42.  I'm done flagellating myself over that fuck up.  I never had any interest in yanking my crack, but if that is the way you took it then it is what it is.  Watch closer, because this article is over a year old...

  • RogerDodger18B

    JackMurphyRGR If this is Ranger Battalion Jack Murphy, we went through this 18B course together in 2006, and I remember you specifically because you failed the light weapons portion of this class but still somehow passed while others in your same shoes did not. It was definitely not your Airborne Light Infantry background that helped you in this class. Instead it was your mere possession of a Ranger tab/scroll, and the cadre's partisan towards them. Some 18X's were garbage, but some prior service were just as F*%$d up,  and for this class you were unfortunately in the  F*%$d up category my friend. Be careful next time you "yank your own crank", some of us are watching.  -fellow 18B

  • MedicSteve2

    That's just awesome.  I can't imagine how much those guys laughed about that, kickin' back a few, just waiting for the CSM to call them in to stand before the desk.   That was certainly worth the ass chewing they, no doubt, took.

  • HunterGuy

    Can always count on you guys for a good laugh.