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AG? What’s That?

This photo is for those Big Green guys who’ve never heard of an Assistant Gunner. Apparently, the Rangers have figured it out.

The guy on the left is called an AG

Rangers from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment lay suppressive fire during a live fire exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, CA Jan. 31, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez/ Released)

39 Responses to “AG? What’s That?”

  1. Andrew K says:

    What pack has the gunner got on?

    • Derek says:

      The top pouch is a breadbox (ammo bag) the bottom appears to be a GP pouch of some sort. As a former WSL I just shake my head whne hearing how some units can’t figure out the ‘why’ a gunner needs at a minimum an AG. Manning should not be a factor in limiting the effectiveness of a key weapon.

      • Mac says:

        Agreed. Spreading that load across 2-3 people helps to insure there’s an effective SBF with sufficient ammo to actually suppress an objective.

        Also a good spot to drop an SDM or two.

        • Derek says:

          Absolutely, when not utilized in their role I used my Javelin guys as such. I actually mentioned to some I thought a good weapon for them would be the M32 grenade launcher used by the Marines. Reason being is they could be a SBF indirect asset.

          • Strike-Hold says:

            Interesting idea about using the GL to create a combined direct / indirect suppressive fire element…

          • Matt says:

            I like the idea of having the AG carry a 320 to provide some SBF if needed. Hadn’t really thought of that as it’s been so drilled into my head that the AG just carry a regular M4. Something to implement in my platoon.

            • Derek says:

              I was mainly talking about the Javelin guys since they were nothing but two more rifles at the SBF without their missiles.

            • majrod says:

              Matt – the AG is loaded down enough with the tripod, spare barrel and extra ammo. Why punish him with an M320 and the requirement to carry 40mm rounds also?

              He also has a very important mission in keeping the gun fed, spotting rounds, new targets and providing security for the gunner who becomes a primary target when he’s working. Why subordinate all these tasks by having him acquire and employ the M320 also?

              You are demonstrating the fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the machine gun in the Infantry platoon. What are we teaching in the basic course?

              (BTW, I’m betting you don’t even require the tripod to be taken to the field let alone employ the M240 from it… Look at the picture again…)

              • Jon Meyer says:

                Thank you.

                I swear there is always someone trying to put more physical and mental load on a fighter. It was bad enough sprinting around with 800rnds of 7.62, a tri-pod, a spare barrel, a pas13, an m4 w/ 7 mags, water, and other mission essential equipment while coordinating the 240 gunner. On top someone suggesting adding the role of a grenadier and even more load bearing..

              • Derek says:

                My idea mentioned above wasn’t with the M320, but the M32 used by the Marines. The 6 round launcher which would put more rounds on target faster prior to the assault. These would be carried by the AT guys if their mission didn’t include the Javelins. As a WSL, fighting loads was a passion of mine and I wasn’t going to kill my guys just getting to the fight. Unfortunately, some fellow NCOs didn’t have that same mindset.

    • Luke says:

      Kifaru omni yoke is my best guess, I noticed it too.

  2. AJ says:

    I’ve been out of the game for about 9 years now. Are most Army conventional line units not utilizing an AG? We had 2-3 man gun teams. Gunner, AG, and if we weren’t hauling Javelins (majority of the time) the Javelin gunner was the Ammo Bearer.

    • Martin says:

      The mech units don’t use the AG as much but the light ones seem to. 75th uses a two man gun section (Gunner/AG) and most other light use a 3 man when they can and at least two. The assistant gunner’s pack was originally made for a two man for the Rangers but was adapted to spread out for a three when some of the regular army brigades got into the testing.

  3. patrulje says:

    When I was a snuffy I was a less than stellar shot with the MG, hence I always got tagged as the pack mule, I mean AG. I like the light weight tripod. CSM (ret) J.

  4. Kaos-1 says:

    Gen. Odierno getting kitted up in high-speed gear, all these great kodak moments of a by the book “live-fire exercise” . It’s humbling to see that even special operation units have to put on “horse and pony” shows for the brass.

  5. Nikuraba29 says:

    That’s not a real AG. If it was he’d be dry humping the gunner’s leg talking him on to target’s.

  6. GHmedic says:

    I would bet money that is a High Ground pack.

    As for the AG humping legs, they have headsets and internal comms, no need for humping.

    • nikuraba29 says:

      Headsets? Internal comms? What witchcraft is this you speak off? Two soup cans and some 550 cord is all one needs.

  7. Chosen Few says:

    Not having an AG is news to me, I spent six years in a conventional airborne unit and we have always run two 3 man gun teams (MG, AG, and AB) and one 2 man javelin/Carl Gustav team in our wpn squads.

  8. Jon says:

    The Army is big indeed, but there are units that know machine gun theory to the maximum, train it like hell, and employ it in combat as professional Soldiers. Did I miss a particular reason for this talk of smack?

    • SSD says:

      Yes, last time we talked about an AG pack, guys chimed in having never had an AG. The Marines have dedicated machine gunners and don’t look at it as a burden as several Army units do.

      • majrod says:

        Food for thought.

        Are the guys nit using AG’s in mech infantry units or CS/CSS troops?

        • SSD says:

          I am sure it’s an issue in support units. But these were Inf guys.

        • Jon Meyer says:

          I was mech infantry and we used AG’s. It really depends on leadership. Most of my leadership at the time had come from light or airborne infantry.

        • Mac says:

          When I was mech we barely used AGs. Never trained on it. Just took one SAW gunner in the squad and handed him a 240B…

      • Jon says:

        Aha! I will agree that I have witnessed extreme crap, as in extra bad / worse, given the term “240 gunner” in some units that don’t want to be professional Infantrymen. I think at the Battalion level, senior leadership has to address turning their gun sections into the badasses they should be, and many times there is a void because of fuzzy knowledge or the “just get them qualified” disease, which is contagious and possibly not fatal, in regards to the enemy.

  9. SGT Rock says:

    I spent my formative years in the 7th ID @ FT. Ord as a Lightfighter and we always employed AG’s w/our Gunners. Sometimes we’d even assign a third Soldier to provide additional ammo and security as well.

  10. Fox says:

    Ah- Good ol’ Liggett. Never know who you might run into there…

  11. Danger Close says:

    USMC Machine Gunner do it RIGHT!

  12. Miclo18d says:

    I think this is a myth. I was in 3/75 89-93. Most of that time I spent humping “The Pig” or it’s M122 tripod. I’ve almost knocked my teeth out during FRIES with that spare barrel! I still remember FM 23-67 like it was The Bible, I can still name 6 types of fire with respect to the gun, 4 with respect to the target, and 2 with respect to the ground (25 years later)!

    We always tried to have 3 man gun teams, based on personnel shortages (nobody WANTED to be a Ranger back then). We tried all kinds of bags, with the most effective being, 400 rounds in a demolition bag. The AG didn’t even carry a weapon except for an M-9, Binos, and PVS-7’s with a 3 power, spare barrel with asbestos mitt, and a bottle of oil! His only job was to keep that gun working, fed with ammo, and on target.

    We laid down fire and walked it across objs 20 feet in front of the squads before they signaled for shift fire! IT WAS A FIREFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!!

    Even back then we were requesting AB’s have M-203’s! It was a cash strapped Army! Our Ranger budget was blown on ammo for live fires and deployments around the world!

    • Derek says:

      I was an AG at Campbell with the M60 early in my career. No AB but a M16 and all gun stuff. I PCS to Lewis and the PSG who came from 2nd Batt had the AG’s carrying M9s. I thought they were being cheated..LOL

    • andrew says:

      I was in light infantry and we did the M9 for AGs for a spell until leadership changed and we went back to M16s for those guys. Completely agree on the AG’s sole mission is to feed the pig. On more that one FTX, the AG’s M16 would come back unfired.

      Still remember this illustration from 23-67: bit.ly/1pyXWvv. My squad leader handed a copy of that along with the M60 TM and told me to memorize both when I first joined his weapons squad. I’m pretty sure I still have both packed away somewhere in the house.

  13. B Co. 1/75 1976-77 says:

    The 4th squad of our rifle platoon was the weapons squad, 3 m-60 gun crews, each with a 3 man crew [ gunner w/ 300 rnds, assistant gunner 300 rnds & spare barrel bag and ammo bearer 300 rnds and tripod, T&E]. All the men in the first 3 squads carried either 100 extra rnds for the m-60 and often a 90mm or a few 60mm for the wpns PLT.

  14. Lasse says:

    800 rounds of 7.62 is ~32kg/70lbs. You cannot carry that weight alone, in addition to the machinegun and personal gear. You need an AG, period.
    Besides, who is going to correct your fire, make sure feeding is good etc.?