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    ARCD BN3 expands qualification



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class John Buol 

    U.S. Army Reserve Command

    QUANTICO, Va. — Too often seen as a mandatory “check the block” military activity, units can aspire to do much more than merely qualify.

    Working with small arms is core soldier task, common to all branches and military occupational specialties. FM 7-0, Training The Force, admonishes unit leaders to train fundamentals first to establish a foundation. By learning basic soldiering to high proficiency, such as marksmanship, units can more easily integrate and master the more complex collective tasks.

    Where most assigned jobs have a related military occupational specialty and specialized schooling to teach it, marksmanship training is often tasked by the “Hey You” system and handled by any available NCO. There is no specific MOS or skill identifier for training marksmanship in the Army. Not even the pertinent weapon Field Manuals provide established standards for trainers and fall back on flowery descriptions such as, “Effective cadre/trainers must possess a thorough knowledge of the rifle, proficiency in firing, and a complete understanding of this manual.” No specific, measurable standard is offered.

    Marksmanship training, from bare basics to advanced, in the US Army can trace its roots back to the Civil War. To "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis" was the motivation for General George Wingate to hold events to learn the best methods of small arms use. Wingate's Manual for Rifle Practice became the first text on marksmanship training formally adopted by the US Army. The legacy of these first efforts remain and Army regulations authorize various forms of marksmanship events to be used as formal training, but the events are never required. It is up to leadership to promote them to subordinates.

    Members of the Army Reserve Career Division used this authorizing guidance to expand on routine qualification procedure at MCB Quantico. It may seem odd for an admin unit to worry about rifle marksmanship but all units and every soldier is supposed to qualify. This event was even more important than that. As SGM James Mauer of ARCD BN 3 explains, “We handle retention in our region for every MOS. Having my troops proficient in their basic Warrior tasks is important to their credibility. This event left them more savvy at marksmanship than most Army personnel, giving my Career Counselors a leg up.”

    Lacking RETS range availability for rifle and pistol, the rifle Alternate Course B (KD qual) and Alternate Pistol Qualification Course was use. Regulation-sized silhouettes were used on both, scoring hit or miss only for qualification as normal, however, these targets also featured scoring rings rewarding shots landing closer to center with more points. Rewarding shooters for doing better than splattering shots anywhere on the target improves performance and this second score was recorded as well.

    Zeroing and shooting on a scoreable target offers a higher goal. To realize gains, quality instruction and coaching is vital. ARCD BN 3 happens to be the home unit for several members with an additional assigned duty with the USAR Shooting Team. These shooter-instructors conducted the ranges. Many of these career counselors had not participated in marksmanship training for several years, yet these coaches realized a high first time go rate. During mass mobilizations over the past decade, Power Projection Platforms benefiting from USAR Shooting Team instructors realized a boost in first time go rates from 40 to 98 percent. Shooting team members can be requested to conduct training throughout the Army Reserve, provided that their orders are funded. This translates into a huge ammunition savings, something these ARCD soldiers benefited by putting that saved ammo to good use.

    To push the point home BN3 leadership had each region form teams. In addition to qualification and scoring for points by individual effort, the best teams were also acknowledged. A formal program following training with awards to recognize the highest shooting individuals and teams from all of the Battalion's regions was held.

    Of course, the easy road is to just conduct routine qualification, check the block and go home. Everything BN3 did for this training event took qualification from routine and made it a memorable and team-building event. Exceptional leaders that want their people to exceed in their military career will go the extra mile to make exceptional opportunities for subordinates available.



    Date Taken: 06.27.2012
    Date Posted: 06.27.2012 15:02
    Story ID: 90702
    Location: QUANTICO, VA, US 

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