Drill sergeants training right on the mark
March 13, 2008
FORT JACKSON S.C. (Army News Service, Mar. 13, 2008) -- Gary Keeney is here to dispel some myths and share valuable knowledge about Basic Rifle Marksmanship.
A contractor with the Asymmetric Warfare Group, the former special operations warrior is part of a team conducting five-day courses for Fort Jackson drill sergeants.
"We are teaching them to master the four fundamentals of rifle marksmanship and the tactical methodology behind them so that they can incorporate it into their training of Soldiers," Keeney said. "Then we expand on the four major fundamentals."
The AWG training is part of the Combat Application Training Course, which is intended to bridge the gap between capabilities and operational requirements in a manner that translates across the training spectrum and within current resource restraints.
More than 350 drill sergeants are expected to complete the training, which began in January and will continue through May. Each class averages between 20 and 30 drill sergeants and officers.
"It is a great way to learn new techniques which we can bring to our Soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Rivera, a drill sergeant with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. "We have already incorporated AWG into Basic Rifle Marksmanship."
The training has received such a large favorable response that is has been extended by two months.
"We have really lit a fire here at Fort Jackson and by the commanding general extending it, the fire is really spreading throughout the post," Keeney said.
The course begins with a basic maintenance class, dispelling a lot of old wives' tales associated with cleaning, maintaining and repairing their weapons. Soldiers are then taught various riggings of their weapons including slings and optics.
Instructors then go into the fundamentals of firing their assault rifles as well as a trip to EST2000, an engagement skills trainer that utilizes video targeting.
"After a couple of days, we add some stress to it and really make them concentrate on the sight image and have them fire from the prone, sitting, standing and kneeling positions," Keeney said.
Soldiers are then put through a night-fire exercise in which they fire 45 rounds. "To some guys this is the most night shooting they have done in their career," Keeney said.
On the following days, barricades are introduced and reloading and malfunction classes are provided.
"We really, really stress safety and safety corrections are not made by the hour, but by the minute," Keeney said. "If Soldiers are safe with their weapons, you can do more and more training."
Instructors also attempt to build teamwork and camaraderie through timed competitions.
"They start to build trust within their teammates," he said. "Those things can't be measured but are a must to be an effective combat Soldier."