FORT LEE, Va. -- Soldiers from the 832d Ordnance Battalion, 59th Ordnance Brigade, piloted the first training session Feb. 7 at the installation’s newly built Hand Grenade Qualification Course.

The hand grenade range at Training Area 18 was developed and constructed by the 59th Ordnance Brigade in order to increase rigor and rehearse Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills in the Initial Entry Training Program of Instruction.

The location has two separate training areas: the Hand Grenade Familiarization Range and the Hand Grenade Qualification Course. The HGFR replicates the dimensions and safety areas found at a typical qualification course. At this first familiarization station, trainees were instructed on the qualification procedures, identified their throwing habits and form, and demonstrated the correct throwing procedures. The second portion of the qualification course, HGQC, consists of seven stations that requires engaging targets and identifying hand grenades.

Soldiers were guided through and assessed on engaging targets at the first six stations: engage a group in the open from a two-man fighting position, engage a bunker using available cover and concealment, engage a fortified enemy mortar position, engage a group of enemy targets, clear an entry point to a trench line, and engage enemy troops in a halted, open-type wheeled vehicle. At the seventh station, Soldiers had to identify grenades by type and purpose, using the shape, color and markings depicted by a training aid.

Pvts. Jaimel Hester and Brandon Nguyen, Bravo Company, 832nd Ord. Bn., were two of the Soldiers who had the opportunity to participate in the hand grenade range debut.

“It was an exciting experience,” said Hester. “I’m glad that we are able to go through this again and improve the skills we learned in basic combat training. The training in basic happened so quickly and I feel like I was not able to fully absorb the skills needed to complete the different stations.”

Nguyen concurred with that assessment.

“This was the best part about basic combat training, and I’m glad that AIT is bringing it back,” he said. “I feel more confident and prepared for my next unit, especially if I find myself in a combat situation.”

Staff Sgts. Desirae Delarosa and Michael Hilgendorf, drill sergeants assigned to Charlie Company of the 832nd Ord. Bn., were the primary and alternate instructors for the training. Utilizing knowledge gained from her first drill sergeant assignment with Fort Jackson’s Basic Combat Training program and applying the training requirements Delarosa, along other 832nd OD Bn. troops, executed the Fort Lee Hand Grenade Range pilot.

Units throughout Fort Lee will now have the ability to plan and conduct training on the course, thus providing the operational Army with Soldiers who are prepared to contribute upon arrival at their first units of assignment.