By Sgt. Nicole Dykstra, 72nd Field Artillery Brigade PAOApril 22, 2010
Asymmetrical warfare requires flexibility, adapting and using the environment to one's advantage. No longer do warriors charge on line - in today's fight, there is no traditional front line.
Soldiers competing in the 99th Regional Support Command's 2010 Best Warrior Competition spent several hours and several hundred rounds demonstrating the popular shoot and move technique April 20 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The reflexive fire event is one of fifteen events they will be evaluated on over the duration of the 5-day competition.
The event evaluates a Soldier's ability to navigate unfamiliar terrain, turn, pivot and fire, eliminating the threat. Soldiers train to avoid friendly-fire incidents and maintain effective firing posture.
The reflexive-fire event evaluates the Soldiers' ability to successfully identify a target and put two rounds into it from up to 50 meters away as quickly as possible, said Command Sgt. Maj. Kurtis Timmer, 99th RSC command sergeant major.
The Soldiers fired at targets from several different stations that simulate actual scenarios typical of combat, including barricades, windows and small obstacles.
Between stations, Soldiers moved through the heavy sand at a "range-walk," which is between a jog and a walk. Moving briskly from station to station, as opposed to remaining stationary in traditional firing positions, increased the stress level, said Sgt. Jonathan Hale, a competitor in the competition and tuba player in the 94th Army Band from East Windsor, Conn.
"It was interesting to see how different it is to react to targets while moving," he said. "You have to remember to control your breathing and keep your heart rate under control to get an accurate shot."
While there was no time limit for each station, Soldiers had an overall time limit of two minutes for the entire event. Any additional time taken would be deducted from their score, said Timmer.
The event's inclusion in the Best Warrior Competition illustrates significant changes from years past to better reflect the Army's current state of training and its mission of ongoing contingency operations, said Sgt. Maj. Greg Pendel, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 99th RSC.
"As the Army's mission transforms, training must transform with it," said Pendel. "Firing from the prone unsupported or from a foxhole supported doesn't fit very well into today's world, where Soldiers engage targets in Iraq or Afghanistan on the move."
Although the Best Warrior Competition is a skills competition, not a training event, it is important the event showcases the Army's new training strategies, said Timmer.
"This is the first time some of these Soldiers have experienced this shooting technique," he said. "We hope they can take what they've learned here back with them to their units and share the most current training with them."
In addition to the reflexive-fire event, Soldiers competing will also be evaluated on their ability to navigate through wooded terrain during the day and at night, disassemble and reassemble an M16 A2 rifle, and complete a seven-mile ruck march within 105 minutes. Other events of the competition include the Army Physical Fitness Test, the Leadership Reaction Course, qualification with the M16 A2 rifle and M9 pistol, a Class A uniform inspection, and an appearance before a board of three sergeants major.
The Best Warrior Competition wraps up April 23. The winner will go on to compete in the Army-wide Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. in October 2010.