Georgia Guard tests new live-fire range training system
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers from the 122nd Tactical Support Detachment test the new Targetry Range Automated Control and Recording (TRACR) II software at a small arms live-fire range April 2, 2022 in Fort Stewart, Ga. The feedback gathered from units that use the software over a 120-day period will be used to improve the system before implementation throughout the Army. (Photo Credit: Maj. Charles Emmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Georgia Army National Guard’s 122nd Tactical Support Detachment travelled down to Fort Stewart, Ga. over the drill weekend of April 1-3, 2022 to train and qualify Soldiers on the M4 carbine rifle and the M17 pistol. This in itself was standard training, conducted annually to ensure unit readiness.

However, this particular weapons qualification event 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, and they were the first unit to ever use it.

Targetry Range Automated Control and Recording (TRACR II) provided these Georgia Guardsmen with first hand 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,” said Alex Stinefast, Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) Program Manager for TRACR II, prior to the 122nd going live on the range. He explained the rollout strategy for the system making its debut in a small room overlooking sprawling acres of automated green silhouette targets.

“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,” said Stinefast.

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 agreed that the software did have a familiar app-like feel to it and was easy to learn and use when supporting range operations.

“I think it’s very beginner friendly”, said Sergeant Desmond Albright, from the 122nd TSD.

Within 30 minutes he was able to learn the program and navigate 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 also had the ability to provide individual score cards to all of the shooters to let them know which targets they had successfully 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 of the participating Soldiers successfully engaged the required amount of targets with their assigned weapons and recorded qualifying scores.

Going forward, the TRACR II team hopes that the new software provides a platform for better training experiences overall 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.”