JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Noncommissioned officers with 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team took part in the Army's Marksmanship Master Trainer Course July 9 through Aug. 10, 2018, to increase their battlefield lethality.
The course, instructed by a mobile training team from 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia, is a five-week program designed to train NCOs as marksmanship trainers. These NCOs will then take these technical skills back to their units to help coordinate and develop marksmanship training for Soldiers.
Teaching a Soldier to shoot beyond fundamentals requires comprehensive knowledge, not just of the learned skillsets but methods to communicate the same concept in various ways, said Sgt. 1st Class Jamal Russell, an instructor with the MMTC.
"I enjoyed having time to thoroughly break things down while going beyond the fundamentals," said Sgt. 1st Class Denny Trevor, a cavalry scout with 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 1-2 SBCT. "Marksmanship training is not a one size fits all concept and that's how we have trained. Multiple teaching methods for rifle marksmanship will reach more people and the Army will see a stronger and more lethal force."
The course has four phases: basic rifle marksmanship, midrange marksmanship, short range marksmanship and unit training management.
Basic rifle marksmanship exposes students to Army marksmanship doctrine and discusses the concepts that have changed, said Staff Sgt. Matthew Dickensheets, an instructor with the MMTC. Students are taught to become better marksmen, but the focus is on developing teaching skills to produce master trainers.
By the second week students are peer coaching one another, Dickensheets said. Information is analyzed from the targets and by using that data a trainer can diagnose issues and develop solutions to correct the problem.
During mid-range marksmanship, students shoot at 600 meters - something most Soldiers have never done, according to Dickensheets. This is important in order to test the maximum impact of the equipment they are using. At this range, gravity, air, and other factors take a toll on shots.
Students learned about speed and accuracy and fired pistols during short-range marksmanship. The phase's culminating event had students develop a lesson plan, instruct a fellow student and execute the plan followed by an after action review.
The course concludes with unit training management. Students are taught planning management and techniques to maximize unit resources to produce quality marksmanship training.
The instructors build the students up to a high level of expertise so that they can speak on it proficiently to other people, said Dickensheets. Confidence comes from understanding the material.
NCOs who become marksmanship masters will bring this important knowledge back to their units, said Staff Sgt. Joshua Cunningham, a cavalry scout with A Troop, 1-14th Cav. He is going back to his troop to revamp his troop's marksmanship program.
"The MMTC course really taught me how to accurately pinpoint and diagnose soldiers shooting issues so we can correct them immediately at troop level," said Cunningham.
"As Soldiers progress, their confidence will go up," Cunningham added. "Soldiers in the 1-2 SBCT will be ready to fight in body armor or MOPP (chemical protective equipment) at anytime, anywhere, increasing lethality and strength for the Ghost Brigade."