FORT STEWART, Ga. – The Georgia Army National Guard’s 122nd Tactical Support Detachment traveled to Fort Stewart for the April 1-3 drill weekend to train and qualify Soldiers on the M4 carbine rifle and M17 pistol.
The training, conducted annually to ensure unit readiness, was unique due to the software that Soldiers from the 122nd TSD operated from the range tower to control targets, score shooters and provide statistical feedback. TRACR II had been an untested Army system; the 122nd TSD was the first unit to use the new technology.
Targetry Range Automated Control and Recording (TRACR II) provided these Georgia Guardsmen with firsthand experience on a fresh interface that addressed many of the after-action reviews and suggestions made by previous operators of the legacy system.
“No Soldier has ever operated TRACR II yet,” Alex Stinefast, Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) program manager for TRACR II, said before the 122nd used the system on the range. “The intent is to leave it in Fort Stewart for 120 days and gather Soldiers’ feedback so that we can make improvements prior to going into full-rate production and send it out to all of the Army.”
The legacy TRACR software has been in use since its development and implementation in 2005-08 and has been updated approximately six times, according to David Howard, TRACR II program engineer.
“We’ve gone from the old Java-based type of application to more of a web-based application, which you see now on your phones,” said Howard.
Soldiers of the 122nd TSD said the software had a familiar app-like feel and was easy to learn and use when supporting range operations.
“I think it’s very beginner-friendly,” said Sgt. Desmond Albright, from the 122nd TSD.
Within 30 minutes, he learned the program and navigated the controls. The new colorful display on the system allowed him and other users from the detachment to select multiple targets, create scenarios, and assign motions to the silhouettes on the range. The leaders overseeing the training and qualification could provide individual scorecards to all the shooters to let them know which targets they had engaged or missed.
“It was a great experience,” said Albright. “As far as being newly introduced to [TRACR II] for the first time, it was pretty easy to use.”
Supported by the new TRACR II software, all participating Soldiers successfully engaged the required amount of targets with their assigned weapons and recorded qualifying scores.
The TRACR II team hopes the new software provides a platform for better training in Fort Stewart and throughout the Army.
“We are expecting the new equipment training to be significantly shorter,” said Stinefast. “We are hoping that the range operators can come in and figure out how to operate it and then start running the range.”