By Sgt. Michael J. MacLeodAugust 15, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C., Aug 15, 2011 -- Dozens of cooks, fuelers, logistics troops and medics received advanced rifle marksmanship training here from what the Army calls an Operational Detachment Alpha, or Special Forces ODA “A Team,” Aug. 1-4.
The support troops, assigned to the 307th Brigade Support Battalion in support of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, received daylong instruction on the the M-4 carbine from instructors assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group.
The team leader of the ODA said that, what the regular Army calls Advanced Rifle Marksmanship and Close-Quarters Marksmanship, the Special Forces community rolls up into what it calls Combat Management Marksmanship Skills, or CMMS.
The training included substantial instruction on reflexive fire, during which troops learned to fire two or more controlled shots at a close target from the standing position and eventually at a slow walk.
“If I were king for a day, every Soldier in the Army would receive this kind of training,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kurt Reed, the top enlisted soldier with 307th BSB. Reed, who took part in the training, said the course offered lessons to Soldiers of all skill levels.
It has always been critical for logistical Soldiers to understand that they are Soldiers first, said Reed. That goes for any Soldier regardless of background -- medic, aviation support, military police, etc.
When the sergeant major entered the Army, the biggest threat was the U.S.S.R, but today’s enemy no longer wears a uniform, meaning that close-quarter marksmanship has never been more important, he said.
“These guys are awesome,” said Reed, who has served over two decades in maintenance support roles. “They know how to talk to troops, which is not surprising given their role as trainers. They understand the basics, so it’s easy for them to identify where Soldiers’ weak points are and quickly bring them around where they need to be.”
“Regardless of what your background is or what your job is in the military, close-quarter marksmanship is a skill you need with the kind of wars we are fighting today,” he said.
For Pvt. Robert Adamson, who arrived at the unit just recently from initial-entry training, the weapons course was his first time firing an M-4. In basic training, he learned on the older M-16.
“Here they switched me over to firing right-handed,” said Adamson, who is left-handed but right-eye dominant. “It made a big difference, especially with my breathing,” he said.
Among the more esoteric lessons the troops learned was the theory behind zeroing a weapon.
“The idea is to take yourself out of the equation,” said Jeremy, the Special Forces noncommissioned officer who led much of the training.
It’s the weapon that’s zeroed, not the shooter, he said, so the fewer points of contact one has with the weapon during the zeroing process the better.
“Anyone should be able to pick up a zeroed weapon and hit ‘paper,’” he said, referring to the target. “They may not be ‘keyholing’ at 300 meters, but they will hit paper.”
In addition to weapons training, the Special Forces instructors also shared lessons on combat lifesaver skills.