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Old January 21, 2014, 04:59 PM   #1
SC4006
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What can I expect as far as weapons training at FT Benning?

So a couple of months ago I enlisted for the NH Army National Guard, and I decided to go with 11B (Infantry/Rifleman) as my MOS. I'll be going to FT Benning for infantry OSUT (one station unit training - basic training and AIT combined) for 14 weeks, and I was wondering what I can expect as far as the weapons training. I know most of it will involve being VERY familiar with the M16 platform, but what other weapons will I be using? I was also wondering how tough, or easy qualification is. I've heard to get "expert" you need to hit something like 35 out of 40 targets, some being as far as 300 meters out.

BTW I leave in about a week , so I'm quite nervous, but I am really looking forward to how it will change me in a positive way.
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Old January 21, 2014, 05:14 PM   #2
RockDTMC
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I can only speak as to the way it was when I was in basic (1988). We only qualified with the M16 and grenades. Basic qualifying with the M16 is easy if you have any skill and follow instructions. When I was in you had to hit 38 out of 40 to qualify expert. And yes, many of the targets are 300 meters. I was 1 of only 2 in my entire company that did it.

Out side of qualifying, we also got to handle and shoot M60's and M203 grenade launchers. I had a different MOS so I can't speak to your AIT training. I'm sure things have changed a lot since I was in. Good luck!
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Old January 21, 2014, 05:51 PM   #3
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a few magazines through the m16 and a few dummy grenades. Good chance youll get a few magazines through an m4 carbine as well.

MIGHT get to play with the m60 and m2
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Old January 21, 2014, 05:54 PM   #4
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I did OSUT at Benning in 1990. I'm sure a lot has changed.

Current Army standard to qualify expert with the M16/M4 is 36/40. 23 is a minimum score to qualify. You can expect to handle your individual weapon for weeks before they actually let you fire it, and you'll disassemble and reassemble it thousands of times. After firing blanks or live ammo, you'll clean it and present it to the armorer and be sent back three more times to "get it clean". When the time allocated for weapons cleaning is completed, then everybody's weapon will suddenly become clean enough.

In 1990 the we qualified only on the individual weapons and bayonet course. Everything else was familarization (grenades, M60, M249). The POI may have changed to include additional systems for qualification... I really don't know. You will have ample opportunity to fire your individual weapon and a few of the others... and will probably throw a total of two live hand grenades. other times you'll get stuck humping a machine gun for miles on end with no opportunity to shoot it. for some reason, we never saw an M2, but that may have changed in the past 24 years.

If you're lucky, you'll get assigned to the battalion closest to the Malone Range Complex so you don't have to walk as far to training. if you're really unlucky, you'll be close to the Sand Hill PX.....cause we never got to go there anyway, and you're furthest from the ranges so you have to walk farther.

When we tranisitioned from Basic Training to AIT, we were a few days into it before they informed us of the change. we didn't get any additional privledges out of the deal, though. Almost all of the training is on the individual level... although there will be some collective events in your last few weeks, as it's difficult to demonstrate a squad ambush for instance without the participation of the whole squad.

well... that's about it for now until someone else chimes in and jogs my memory.
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Old January 21, 2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Ok, a few more thoughts.

First, as an 11B, you'll do much more weapons training that other MOSs do. Earlier I failed to mention the M203. You'll likely get a lot of that too, but you probably won't actually shoot it much. That's pretty common with most of the systems you encounter: you'll disassemble and reassemble them a lot, and you'll tote them even more, but you won't actually shoot em that much. Ammo is expensive.

The M16/M4 qualification course of fire has changed in the past few years to reflect GWOT realities and has added the kneeling position table (10 of 40 rounds). This I'm sure makes qualifying expert somewhat more difficult. (I've been assigned an M9 since 2003 and have not qualified with a rifle/carbine since then so I really can't state with conviction).

As far as weapons training goes, keep your mind and concentrate on what's being taught. The Army does a great job at teaching marksmanship to Soldiers who are interested in it... So listen well and implement the lessons your drill sergeants are teaching. You get out of it what you put into it.... Soldiers that are into weapons stay proficient, while those who see marksmanship as a necessary evil struggle to even qualify just one year later. Not many 11Bs fit that latter category though.

So.... No need to be nervous. Be resolved instead, be resolved to self improvement and doing the right thing. Do what you're told to the best of your ability and keep your mouth shut... There'll be plenty of dumb-*#%es that can't keep their mouths shut and can't stand being dissed....let them catch the heat while you take advantage of the training. Keep a good attitude and you'll look back and recognize later how easy it really was. Be a leader by setting an example for others to follow. Give 100% in everything you do and encourage others to do the same.

Back on topic for a gun forum.... If you're a gun guy, then 11B is the MOS for you.
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Old January 21, 2014, 11:36 PM   #6
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I have nothing material to add, but just wanted to wish you well and thank you for your service. Good luck!
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Old January 22, 2014, 01:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies guys, especially Tom68! Yep, the fact that I am a gun guy did definitely play a part in picking 11B. Nothing else really interested me as much as being a rifleman. I certainly know at times it can be very dangerous, ie being deployed, but overall I think i'll like it. I know at first the drill sergeants might be a little scary, but I just keep reminding myself now that they're only going to be doing what they do to help us.

As far as the weapons, I hope it's changed in that I get to fire more of the weapons, rather than just being familiar with and lugging them around. I've heard nowadays they include the AT4 rocket launcher as part of the training, that should be interesting if true.

BTW Tom, just out of curiosity are you active duty, guard, or reserve?
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Old January 22, 2014, 02:32 PM   #8
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Yeah, i forgot about the AT4. We shot them with 9mm subcal inserts (shoots a 9mm tracer round at approximately the same trajectory as an AT4 rocket). DS demonstrated firing a live round but none of the trainees got to shoot one. we also trained on the LAW which is now out of the inventory. after this many years it's tough to recall whether a particular event happened during OSUT or IOBC, as they were only about 3 years apart. I don't recall shooting the Mk 19 during OSUT, but in IOBC we shot it and the M2 a fair amount.

I'm guard, been AGR over 10 years and counting, with one tour in Iraq 2007-2008 and just got home two months ago from a tour in Kuwait. I spent my first 10 years in the infantry as a traditional NG Soldier and moved on after company command.
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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Went through OSUT as a 12B at Ft Leonard Wood in 1991. Of course we had the M16 and grenade qualifications(only threw a couple of them live, rest were inert or had caps in them). Most of the time spent with the M16 was familiarization, disassembly, assembly, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I got to the point I hated cleaning it hours on end. Bayonet course.

Other weapons we were exposed to were the Claymore(actually a lot on the claymore). Only got to fire live Claymores as a group. We also had land mine qualification class. Fired the rifle rounds through the AT4. Probably fired a M60a time or two. Did a lot with learning ring mains, blasting caps,c4, shape charges, etc. Don't know if you get that as 11B.

When I got to my unit qualified and/or shot the M60, M203 grenade launcher on the M16A2, 50 cal, LAW rocket which was being phased out, and we also had 90MM recoilless rifle which was heavy as all get out. Shot 7.62 rounds through it to qualify. They phased it out early on as well.

Probably missing something and I am sure it has changed somewhat.
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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I did Basic at Ft. Dix, N.J. and several years later I did AIT for 12F, Engineer Tracked Vehicle Crewman at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. I did many of the things Herdman did, ropes, knots, demolitions, bridges, plus I got to fool around with the Engineer Tanks, the AVLB Bridge Tank and the M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle which was rather beastie I felt

I have one thing to add, never let on that you already know something about guns. Let the drills figure that out all on their own, if it's there, they'll see it. But if you volunteer it then they may see it as you being a "know it all" and they see these guys all the time. They might see this is something that is getting in the way of them teaching you the Army Way to do things. I can't say the Army Way is the best way, but it sure is the only way they want to hear about. just keep yourself to yourself and let them see what shines out all on it's own, it'll be better for you and you'll appreciate any good comments from your Drills all the more.

Congratulations, you are on your way to becoming a crunchy. Crunchy is slang for foot soldier, if you happen to be a DAT which is short for Tanker

You are going to have no fun, some fun, some change. Look forward to it, don't expect too much, it's a process.

Thank You for carrying on.
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Old January 22, 2014, 07:05 PM   #11
herdman
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The thing to remember about OSUT is that the AIT part is with all the same drill sgts. No break from the that. In fact, they busted our hind ends more when the AIT phase started. I was there 17 weeks I think.
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Old January 22, 2014, 07:07 PM   #12
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To be Young again,

There are so many cool weapons today that were not even a dream in my days. I'd love to have the chance to go back and get trained on all of them.

Thank you for your plans to serve our Country and for serving your State as well. That takes Courage and the desire to do good.
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Old January 22, 2014, 08:04 PM   #13
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Here are a few words that will get your military career off to a good start. Shut your mouth and listen to your DIs. The fact you are on this forum indicates you are a "barrel sucker". Nothing wrong with that, but at Basic Training there is only one way.... the ARMY way. Basic Training is NOT the time to be sensitive, innovative or create new or better ways to do things. Be thick skinned, listen to your DIs and not the barracks experts. Don't try to be Rambo, be a blank slate and absorb it all. You can modify things later when you are with your unit.

What you will be learning are systems and processes (basic infantry tactics) so that every 11B does exactly the same. Learn the systems well and they will keep you alive. You will handle your weapons (M16) a lot but may not fire much. Remember that many are new to weapons so safety is the first drill. You will hear over and over about muzzle discipline. You may eventually get blanks to practice clearing for when you go into the dinning hall, barracks etc. Believe it or not people still AD into the clearing barrels because they forget.... remove magazine first then cycle action.

Here is a tip for when you get to the range... know your lane (pop ups). It is often hard to know what is yours vs the lane next to you. Hitting low and knocking it down with a skip is also better than shooting high and over the target. The course is not real hard, it just takes getting used to shooting with all the battle rattle on. Object is to qualify... you will do the majority of your learning at your unit.

Memorize your serial number, battle zero and keep your weapon within arms reach at all times (your DIs may test this by trying to take it). There are some Army basic infantry publications out there that will help you get a head start. Also helpful are some basic field craft manuals to help you with life in the filed. Many of these can be found in the military clothing sales store.

Learn the Army Values, understand what they mean and live them. Welcome to the Profession of Arms!

COL B
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Old January 23, 2014, 12:24 AM   #14
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I went through Benning mid 80s( Harmony Church - bulldozed now). Find the PDF on BRM - Basic Rifle Marksmanship. http://www.ut.ngb.army.mil/campwilli...hange%204).pdf
You will learn some of the manual. Our M16s were old and abused - who knows how many times dropped or how they had been handled - nobody lit up qualification. I remember the day I received a brand new (never touched by anyone besides me M16A2) - couldn't miss and fired expert for the first time (39/40). But back to Benning - you are not getting the best training on marksmanship - they just need to get you to qualify. Learn the section on 25M zero. And know what the drop is for the rounds at the distances you will shoot at 50-300 meters when I was in. You'll get to shoot in NBC gear and night fire also. Remember Infantry 1st priority of work - weapons maint. I don't know the quality of weapons you will have - but some things I always did to help - smoked my front sight post (burned mre spoon) I would use sight paint today. I would run and do some push-ups to burn off nervous energy before qualifying. One last thing - hold the trigger back for a second on each shot (great follow through). Wish you the best.
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Old January 23, 2014, 01:10 AM   #15
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HOW to exist

Headed off to basic. Good for you young man. Others have answered your questions on shooting. Mine will be tips to exist in comfort:
1. Always keep a positive attitude
2. Always keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open
3. Do not try to draw any attention to yourself
4. Your goal is to let all of the dumb guys take the heat - they will step up
5. You have done a good job when the TI has to read your nametag to remember your name at the end of the training

Best of luck to you & thanks in advance for your service.

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Old January 27, 2014, 03:13 PM   #16
SC4006
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A little late, but thank you everyone for the helpful responses, it will definitely help. I leave tomorrow and am cherishing the last day with my family for a few months, and also the things I sort of take for granted like my own room, bed, electronics, etc. Thanks again guys, I think I'll do just fine.
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They say 5 out of 4 people are bad at math, but what do I know?
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Old January 27, 2014, 03:16 PM   #17
Tom68
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Best of luck to you. When you get home, resurrect this thread and let all us old timers know what's changed.
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Old January 27, 2014, 03:57 PM   #18
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Best of luck to you!

Thanks for stepping up.

My best advice would be this: All the yelling at you is nothing personal: the Drill Sergeant does not know you, your mother, father, or your hometown, though he might (likely will) insult any or all of them. He does not hate you. He's trying to stress you, to make you tougher than you knew you were.

To help you succeed, remind yourself that no matter how bad the situation you are in is, worse things have happened to better people, and they sucked it up and drove on. You can, too.

I am sure Basic has changed a bit since I went through (Ronald Reagan was President!) Fort Sill .... tell us about it when you are done.

Thanks again for stepping up,
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Old January 27, 2014, 04:18 PM   #19
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Thanks for being a normal American and stepping up to protect us. I can't help witht he question. I think it may have changed since I was there 40+ years ago.
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Old January 27, 2014, 05:28 PM   #20
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Sorry, I have to throw this in having served 4 years active duty in the USAF.

Be sure to do some sort of active duty assignment during your enlistment. It qualifies you for VA benefits. I recently talked with a friend that was in the Guard for ten years, but because he never took an assignment that counted, he doesn't have the benefits.

Also note that your DD214 counts as training should you ever want something from the CMP.
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Old January 27, 2014, 07:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Thanks again guys, I think I'll do just fine.
Yes you will.

Another heartfelt Thank You for your sacrifice.

Enjoy your evening.
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Old January 27, 2014, 09:19 PM   #22
SC4006
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I will certainly dig up this thread when I graduate in May and let you guys know how everything went. I want to thank all of you who made the choice to enlist before me as well.

Oh and Chris, I already ordered something from the CMP . I made sure to speak to the CMP customer service right after I enlisted in November to ask if I could send in my enlistment contract to buy an M1 Garand, to which they said would be fine. I received it about a week ago, and it's quite amazing to own a rifle that young recruits just like me many decades ago were using. That's part of the reason I decided to buy an M1, kind of like a gift to myself for enlisting.
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They say 5 out of 4 people are bad at math, but what do I know?
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Old January 28, 2014, 12:18 AM   #23
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Thanks for your service.

Advice:

BE VERY ATTENTIVE TO SAFETY. NO HORSEPLAY. THE ARMY AND YOUR DRILL INSTRUCTORS OR RANGE OFFICERS WILL CRUSH YOU IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THEIR PRECISE INSTRUCTIONS.

Also, don't be the know it all or the 'gun guy.' Play dumb. Listen. Don't talk unless you're asked a question or told to talk. Don't sharpshoot others, meaning don't point out how others are wrong. Don't be a Blue Falcon (Buddy F'er).

As a fellow gun guy, however, you will likely come away feeling that you did not get to shoot as much as you wanted, and it was probably never much fun.

Finally, and pay very close attention here because I was an Army officer and JAG and prosecutor and defense attorney: The military is in a period of ZERO TOLERANCE for misconduct. Silly stuff you might do as a civilian is a CRIME in the military. Talking back to superiors. Crime. Missing work. Crime. You get the idea. The military is also downsizing. They are looking for ways to punish and kick out Soldiers. DO NOT hook up with other female Soldiers. It will the fastest way to get a sex assault or rape allegation against you. I've seen it happen, and it's common. Co-ed Soldiers partying, drinking, hook up... suddenly sex assault or rape allegations and men go to prison. Don't go out in Columbus (near Benning) and have a few drinks and try to drive. A DUI will land you in deep hot water, and end your career. It amazes me, looking back, at how many Soldiers ruined their lives through drugs, booze, or just really stupid decisions and were kicked out or went to prison. Okay, enough preaching. Back to guns.

I went through JAG Basic in Virginia (about 3 months in 2006) and Officer Basic at Benning in 2007, for about 3 months, then on to Airborne school at Benning (if you can get an Airborne slot, do it). Certainly our experiences will be different but this will give you and idea.

We spent a day or a few days learning about the M4/M16. Classroom, slideshows, theory. Aiming techniques. Breathing techniques. Max effective range. Capacity. Concept of ballistics. How bullets work. SAFETY. Lots of people will be learning and holding the weapon (or any weapon) for the first time. Lots of folks from liberal anti-gun states... some have no idea how guns work. MORE SAFETY. And yet MORE SAFETY.

Did the 'dime' dry fire tests. You lay prone, and your partner places a dime on the barrel and you gently squeeze the trigger without causing the dime to fall off.

The Army has multi-million dollar huge video game simulator video games, and have some at Benning. You will likely get exposure to these. It's like a small movie theater with a huge screen and various movies with interactive videos involving real actors who do different things. It's a really cool simulator, and you have to react to friendly people, people drawing weapons, etc. You have a 'laser tag' style M4 and have to shoot or decide to not shoot depending on the scenario. It's a excellent tool, and a low threat example of the dangers of modern warfare and counter insurgency (COIN) operations. The scenarios are very hard and excellent training.

Live range days suck. They really do. It's not like going to your favorite shooting hole. High stress. Lots of yelling. Confusing orders. Etc.
We piled on tons of gear, packed very tight into busses (if you have claustrophobia, prepare to be cured), and went to the range. Spent all day zeroing. Some people just could not zero. Other trips were qualification on the popup 300 meter ranges. You'll fire some combination of 10 rounds kneeling, 10 rounds prone supported, 20 rounds prone unsupported, or some combination thereof making 40 rounds. I forget. You can look online to determine the different levels of qualification for sharpshooter, marksman and expert. I forget the exact methods.

You'll also get assigned your Night Vision Goggles. DO NOT LOSE THEM. You'll get a infrared laser sight for your M4 and hit the range and do night fire.

As far as how hard qualification is, some has to do with your ability, and some has to do with luck. I qualified expert many times in the military with rifle and pistol. However, it's very difficult wearing body armor and a helmet when you're not accustomed to it. It can be quite difficult to get a good cheekweld or shoulder to stock fit with body armor. You might also draw an abused M4 that jams, or hit a target that doesn't go down because it's all shot up or faulty. Finally, it will be stress like most people have never experienced with several Noncommissioned Officers roaming around, shouting, bullying people, etc. So, don't get discouraged. Just do your best.

That's Basic Rifle Marksmanship, or BRM.

Advanced Rifle Marksmanship involves more dynamic shooting, lowering and raising your weapon, gaining muscle memory from safe to fire to safe with your thumb.

You will likely get MOUT (Military Operations Urban Training) with paintball simunition rounds in your M4s. Small unit tactics, clearing rooms, etc.

You will likely spend a lot of time in the field with blank adaptors and blank 5.56 rounds.

You will get sooo sick of cleaning your M4, getting it spotless for inspection.

Other weapons systems.
You might get some training on the M249 saw (5.56 belt fed), the M240B (.308 beltfed), or M2 (.50 belt fed), or the M203 or Mark 19 (grenade launchers that you'll likely fire paint ball rounds) on big open flat ranges with old vehicles as targets. You might also get some experience on the M9 on either a static or popup range. You'll get theory on hand grenades, and likely practice with dummy grenades.

I went into the military loving guns and camping. The Army crushes your interest in these things. Range day, and days in the field, were not much fun at all.

Good luck Soldier!

Last edited by leadcounsel; January 28, 2014 at 12:47 AM.
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Old January 28, 2014, 04:42 PM   #24
Tom68
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Leadcounsel, you brought up a plethora of topics which I had omitted, and a whole lot of advice that is so very relevant in "today's Digital Army" (sorry, inside joke...). I just completed a deployment in Kuwait, and I wouldn't be surprised if this young man spends more hours in a classroom being compelled to not sexually assuault other Soldiers than he spends handling an M4.

That being said... I am really looking forward to his return to find what has changed about the weapons training (yeah, i'm getting back on track for a firearms forum...). In my day at OSUT we had a "weaponeer", which was nothing more than an individual arcade game. Since then I have seen the evolution of computer simulation weapons training, and like you said, today's system is light-years ahead of what i experienced as a private. The EST 2000 system runs the gamut from BRM scenarios all the way through the "shoot...no-shoot" scenarios you described. Our young Soldiers today have a much better opportunity to exercise real-world situations in which mistakes can be made and lessons learned.

as an 11B, he will get significant more weapons training than the average Soldier.... at least that's the way it used to be. I'll admit that after 24 years in service, and quite a few paygrades later, that I'm not as in tune with what our young trainees experience as I used to. My only hope is that the times have not watered down the experience to a point in which warfighting skills take a back seat to the other, more social, aspects of Soldiering.
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Old January 28, 2014, 07:51 PM   #25
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Lots of good info...

I will add one thing... Don't let the 30th AG mess with your mind... It sucks, but once you move down range it's better ( well kinda).
You'll spend plenty of time doing absolutely nothing there, but just make the best of it and keep your mind clear... Don't hang around the guys that are belly aching about missing home, get with the motivated guys. There will be lots of Option 40's and SF contracts in there with you... They certainly aren't Rangers or SF yet but they tend to want to be there more than some guys.

Good luck!!
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