FORT CARSON, Colorado Springs - Under a sunny sky at the Army's Mountain post, Soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) brushed up on their marksmanship, March 10.

For a unit better known for sitting at computer screens on a daily basis, getting the chance to hone basic Soldering skills was a nice change of pace.

To better prepare themselves for the live range, 100th MDB Soldiers practiced on the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, Fort Carson's electronic indoor shooting range.

The EST 2000 is an effective way to train Soldiers without the waste of ammunition and the use of real weapons. The program makes a realistic representation of a qualifying range and the guns used, although inert, are exact replicas of the real Berretta M-9 pistol. The gun uses a laser to communicate with the program and simulate bullets hitting the target.

"There was value added to utilizing the EST 2000. I would recommend that tool to any unit who does not fire their assigned weapons on a monthly or quarterly basis, or who might just require some additional marksmanship instruction," said Capt. William Shanahan, commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 100th MDB(GMD).

Not only was there the EST 2000 to get the Soldiers from the 100th prepared, they had some familiarization training as well.

"The basic goal was for everyone to qualify. In order to do this, we conducted EST 2000 training and primary marksmanship instruction prior to and on the range," said Shanahan.

Many of Soldiers came out to the range just thinking about hitting the 16 targets needed to qualify.

"My goal was to qualify," said Spc. Cristina Cost, an assistant local area network (LAN)manager for the 100th. "This was only my second year of qualifying with the M-9 and I didn't have the confidence I would qualify, but I did."

But a few Soldiers set their own bar higher.

"I set out to do my best," said Sgt. Brenden Good, another LAN assistant manager for the 100th. "(I) was hoping to shoot expert and I did very well. I got 29 out of 30."

Over all, the day was a success according to the HHB commander.

"In my opinion (echoed by the BDE XO and several others), it went very well. Sixty-one personnel showed up, we had a 100% GO," said Shanahan.

As with every Army training event, there were challenges the leaders from the 100th had to overcome and learn from.

"Working with Fort Carson always presents a set of training challenges due to the different training philosophies between the Active component and the National Guard," added Shanahan. "We overcame and conducted a very successful small-arms qualification. We now have a better idea of the process, and the requirements Fort Carson has to train, and we will continue to refine our process to always improve training."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16