Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division conducted the Army’s new marksmanship qualification during their scheduled M-4 range week March 9-12 at Fort Stewart.
According to 1st Lt. Shawn Sims, a signal officer assigned to Signal Intelligence Sustainment Company, HHBN’s Soldiers are part of the beginning phasing-in stages of the new qualifications range.
The new marksmanship qualification course has been designed to replace the Cold War-era marksmanship qualification course, requiring Soldiers to engage targets faster in a variety of firing positions that they may be required to take during an enemy engagement.
“This new test is an actual measurement of Soldier’s marksmanship skills and how they would apply it to the real world,” said Sgt. David Fernandez, a nodal network systems operator
assigned to SIS Co.
The new required firing positions include prone unsupported, prone supported, kneeling supported, and standing supported.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Terry, a multichannel transmission systems operator assigned to SIS Co. said Soldiers are now given instructions prior to engaging the targets, and then they must change magazines and positions on their own during a prescribed amount of time.
The SIS Co. ran the four-day range with only two months to prepare.
Sims was the acting officer in charge of the range while Terry was the noncommissioned officer in charge.
“We had to ensure preliminary marksmanship instruction within the sections was completed, so that everybody was familiar with the new qualification standard,” said Sims. “We had to work with range control to get the new targets and make sure the barriers for the standing portion were taken care of.”
Terry said his job as NCOIC encompassed coordinating and executing the range with 16 qualification lanes and three zeroing lanes.
Soldiers offered their opinions on the new qualification standard.
“It is a little more involving and keeps you on your toes,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rashawn Brown, a telecommunications operations chief assigned to 3ID. “It’s going to take time for Soldiers to get used to it.”
“It’s easy if you apply your shot process, which falls back on applying what you learned during engagement skills trainer and primary marksmanship instruction,” said Fernandez. “The hardest thing is transitioning between the positions and reloading.”
The PMI portion, and EST training will be significant when preparing to qualify for the new standard, said Terry.
“Go into qualifying with an open mind and take PMI seriously, especially before going to the range,” said Terry. “Although it is a requirement, have fun with it and you’ll be successful.”