A video of U.S. Army troops conducting live-fire training went viral over the weekend after social media users noticed glaring gun safety violations and called on the Army to focus on basic weapon safety instead of social justice measures.
In the video, soldiers breach the shoot house and leapfrog from room to room shooting targets with live ammunition. As the first set of soldiers clear the first room, the second contingent of troops moves through to the second room, all while the first set points rifles with live ammunition at the backs of their fellow soldiers.
The video gained much of its viral attention after it was shared by the Instagram account Bar Stool Operators. The account wrote, “There’s so much wrong going on here that will result in dead American soldiers.”
The Bar Stool Operator Instagram post drew several comments from users critical of military efforts to address inclusivity and diversity in the ranks.
In reply to one comment, Bar Stool Operators wrote there’s “too much focus on inclusion, SHARP [Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention] & EO [equal opportunity].”
The Army’s basic weapon safety rules state soldiers must “always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction” and “be sure of your target and what’s beyond it,” a concept that is also foundational in civilian gun safety. Soldiers are trained to lower their weapons to lower the risk of accidentally shooting one another during such maneuvers.
The soldiers were identified as members of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and Bar Stool Operators tagged 10th Mountain Division Command Sgt. Maj. Mario Terenas and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, the senior-most enlisted member of the Army, in the Instagram video caption.
“Do not punish the soldier that posted it as it may have gone unnoticed and the problem would have continued,” Bar Stool Operators wrote. “The [non-commissioned offices] and officers need instruction from guys with real world experience to pass on to their units. This is unacceptable. Too worrying about inclusive PT tests and ABCXYZ gender integration and get back to worrying about winning wars.”
Grinston replied in the Instagram video, “Tracking all. Working on identifying the [battalion] to address it.”
10th Mountain Division Command Sgt. Maj. Mario O. Terenas tweeted, “I want to address the recent shoot-house video that’s been circulating online. Thank you, to everyone that brought this issue to our attention. It will get fixed!”
“We ran it down to the ground. It is 10th Mountain Division, it is our folks and it really, really hurts to say that,” Terenas said in a video statement. “It is not the standard, it is not how we do business, it is not acceptable.”
Terenas said the command is investigating the incident. “We will investigate it, we will take action and we will retrain.”
“Make no mistake, that is not the 10th Mountain Division standard. It will never be the 10th Mountain Division standard,” Terenas added.
Terenas said investigations so far had determined the incident took place “some time ago” adding “it’s been going on a few months.”
Another user commented “An entire generation of warriors has spent full, 20+ year careers in active combat in [close quarter battle] situations. There’s absolutely no excuse for this to be the standard of ANY training course in 2021.” Bar Stool Operators replied, “they all got pushed out.”
Another user tagged Grinston in a comment saying, “@16th_sma maybe if you didn’t push for experienced vets to leave the army, this wouldn’t happen.”