By Staff Sgt. Kate ThorntonMarch 15, 2016
ARTA RANGE, Djibouti (March 15, 2016) -- Soldiers from the Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD) completed basic rifle marksman training with help from U.S. Army Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) Soldiers, March 10, 2016, at Arta range, Djibouti.
After learning land navigation skills in the first of three training phases, the FAD soldiers accomplished the second phase consisting of ready-up drills and stress shooting to prepare them for combat.
"In combat your blood's always pumping," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard Keeton, RAF instructor.
Pairs of FAD soldiers carried litters 100 meters before picking up their weapons.
"It's to simulate them firing [with] higher blood pressure and get them ready for the rigors of combat," Keaton said.
Students picked up their weapons, took a prone fighting position and fired, advanced 10 meters and fired from the kneeling position, advanced 10 more meters and fired from the standing position, then finally fired while walking toward their target.
"The training is very good for us," said FAD First Sgt. Omar Abdo, FAD training supervisor. "And we notice the evolution."
Culminating the previous weeks' training in the classroom and weapon familiarization, the soldiers' time at the range proved successful.
"It's important for soldiers, whether they're a logistics soldier or a combat soldier, to be able to pick up their weapon and fire if need be," Keaton said. "A lot of these guys don't get to use their weapons [often] since they're a logistics company, so the [opportunity] to get out and fire their weapons is going to benefit them in the long run."
After weeks of vigorous training the students look forward to completing one more phase and being combat ready, but the instructors remain ready for more.
"I get to train soldiers, whether it's American Soldiers or Djiboutian soldiers," Keaton said. "My job at the end of the day is to train soldiers."
There will continue to be courses as the soldiers move into their third phase and add to what they've already learned with some new skills.
"Throughout the training we see and notice [the changes]," said Abdo. "We're really happy to get so much experience from the training."
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three articles about training conducted by U.S. Army Regionally Aligned Forces with the Djiboutian Armed Forces.