US BCT Improvements

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by tomahawk6, Dec 18, 2005.

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  1. Unfortunately the link you added is for subscribers only, so I can't read it.

    I've read a bit about it before though, and from what I've heard, all the extra training is being squashed into the same time frame, i.e. three to four hours sleep a night for recruits.

    If you could post the article in full I'd be very interested to read it. Hopefully what I've read about was only a stop-gap measure.
  2. Ah, four hours sleep a night was about all I got four years ago.

    They are dropping one or two less 'warry' things from the schedule to compensate.

  3. T6

    Could you cut and paste when you get a chance please?

  4. BCT or OSUT?

    OSUT should be longer.
  5. Both, I would assume.

  6. California_Tanker

    off topic, do tank battalions have snipers? ( in like the HHC or something)
  7. Sorry gents;

    December 05, 2005

    New rifle instruction reflects combat reality
    Recruits shoot in bulky gear, from different positions

    By Joseph R. Chenelly
    Times staff writers

    New soldiers are learning how to shoot in full battle rattle in an effort to make marksmanship training resemble the conditions they’re likely to face in combat.

    The new basic rifle marksmanship strategy, which is being employed at each of the Army’s five Initial Entry Training Centers, has privates wearing Interceptor Body Armor, in addition to their helmet and load-bearing gear, throughout BRM instruction, training and qualification.

    The rest of the Army has been qualifying on weapons this way for nearly two years, but the recent switch at the IET centers is the first time the idea has become standard.

    The effort at the Army’s IET centers “may be the first standardized approach for the new marksmanship strategy,” said Infantry Center Command Sgt. Maj. Lonny Wright.

    “I think that at this point everybody has transitioned and adopted the skills needed based on experiences in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said. “We have perfected it in a structured environment.”

    Lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan prompted Army units in 2004 to begin qualifying in body armor as well as firing from more practical positions such as kneeling, said Master Sgt. Charles Timms, senior enlisted adviser for institutional training in the Army’s G3 office.

    The Army’s marksmanship manual, FM 23-9, is being revised to reflect the changes.

    Train as you fight

    The IBA vest, with its front and back ballistic plates, is bulky and constricts movement, but it’s a mandatory part of a soldiers’ battle rattle, or combat kit, in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “A lot of times in combat, you don’t always get to shoot in the most comfortable position,” said Lt. Col. Scott Hickenbottom, who commands 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, at the Infantry Training Brigade here. “You train as you fight; we are fighting in IBA, so we should train in IBA.”

    The new strategy also revamps the firing positions new soldiers must use to qualify, replacing the foxhole-supported firing position with the kneeling firing position. Soldiers still fire from the prone-supported and prone-unsupported positions.

    The new BRM standards are part of a larger effort to infuse more of a warrior focus into basic training.

    Since the beginning of the year, recruits have been required to keep their rifles within reach at all times. Whenever a soldier-in-training leaves the safety of a building, he must chamber a round as if he were leaving a forward post in Iraq. The young troops have only 10 rounds — and they are blanks — but the exercise forces them to be conscious of accidental discharges from day one.

    All the changes stem from feedback from soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Col. Kevin Shwedo, operations officer for Army Accessions Command and a member of Objective Task Force, charged with redesigning initial-entry training.

    “Commanders are saying they are now getting more proficient soldiers,” Shwedo said Sept. 21. “Soldiers coming out of basic now are more confident, more tactically and technically proficient. They are more comfortable with their weapons.”

    But like anything else, it takes practice.

    “The IBA makes it extremely difficult,” Pvt. John Holt of A Company, 1-54, admitted after shooting on a pre-qualification range in early November at Benning. “It’s kind of awkward, but I’m getting used to it.”

    One of the challenges is that soldiers need to make sure the butt stocks of their M16s are seated into the pocket of the shoulder. “It’s harder to find the pocket of your shoulder with the IBA if it’s not fitted properly,” Hickenbottom said.

    Shooting from the prone while wearing body armor also is difficult because the back of the Kevlar helmet tends to hit the back of the vest.

    For now, new recruits have to make adjustments, but the Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet is a sure fix. The new helmet has slightly less side and rear protection but is designed to be worn with body armor. It’s been in use in Iraq since 2003; some basic training units are getting it, too, Hickenbottom said.

    Soldiers still fire 40 rounds on qualification day — 20 from the prone-supported, 10 from the prone-unsupported and 10 from the kneeling position.

    And the scoring system hasn’t changed. Soldiers who hit 36 to 40 targets earn an expert badge, soldiers who hit 30 to 35 targets earn a sharpshooter badge and soldiers who hit 23 to 29 targets earn a marksman badge. Anyone scoring below 23 targets must requalify.

    Getting the hang of it

    The approach has included its share of growing pains for IET commanders, but new soldiers are improving as the effort matures, said Lt Col. Mike Ryan, commander of 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Jackson, S.C.

    When one of his companies began qualifying with the new strategy in May, just 40 percent to 50 percent of the recruits were able to qualify on a first try, Ryan said. But as drill sergeants provided feedback after each training cycle, the course was tweaked. Now, about 60 percent pass the first time through. The standard Ryan is shooting for is 70 percent success, which he says is comparable to the average in the old way of teaching basic marksmanship.

    Wright agrees. “Just as anything you start new, you have a rocky road,” he said.

    “Our statistics are showing that we are truly improving and we are just about back to where we were before we started this new training.”

    Before the Army started testing the new strategy in May, soldiers in basic training were receiving about 85 hours of marksmanship training, Ryan said. Now they get 103 hours, including 22 hours in a computer-generated training system called the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, known for its ability to diagnose a soldier’s shooting errors by recording the movements of the rifle barrel two seconds before and after impact.

    In the kneeling position, trainees shoot at targets that appear one at a time at distances of 50 to 150 meters away from the shooter.

    In some ways, trainees find shooting from the kneeling position easier than shooting from the prone, said Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez, a drill sergeant for A Company, 2-54, at Benning.

    “They are shooting better in the kneeling position — you are upright, so there is no Kevlar helmet hitting you in the back of your IBA.”

    Drill sergeants still stress maintaining good sight alignment and sight picture, applying even pressure on the trigger, and steady, controlled breathing.

    Shwedo and Ryan both point to the fact that the majority of drill sergeants working the ranges are veterans of combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. “Our drill sergeants know what it is like over there,” Ryan said. “They know what it is like to fire while wearing [body armor] when it really matters. They bring that experience with them every day, and it makes the training that much better.”

    Before a soldier can graduate from basic, he must complete the basic marksmanship course and the advanced rifle marksmanship training, Shwedo said.

    The ARM covers shooting using night and daytime optics, shooting from a standing position and reflective fire. At Fort Bliss, Texas, soldiers in the course use simulated ammunition to practice making split-second decisions of when to shoot and when to hold fire.

    Even once a soldier graduates from basic, he may have to qualify on the rifle range while wearing body armor, Shwedo said. The Army now requires soldiers at advanced individual training courses that are six weeks or longer to requalify at their AIT school.

    But nothing is final, say officials at the Infantry Center, the Army’s proponent for marksmanship. Weapons training may continue to evolve.

    “Traditionally, we have always fired the same standard,” Wright said. “Maybe we need to evolve and make marksmanship standards meet the needs of the operational environment.”
  8. Not on the MTOE. It just doesn't fit in with the concept of what an armour battalion does: rapid movement.

    That said, it's not unusual to find the odd sniper-trained soldiers who had gotten sick of walking everywhere, saw the light, and became tankers. Thus when we went to Iraq as 'Motorised Infantry/Dragoons', they were 'gimmes' for the sniper rifles that we received.

  9. "saw the light"

    oh the light from the burning tank?

    i read somewere that the tank and mech' infantry battalions are being replaced by some sort of "combined arms battalion" with a HHC two tank companies two mechanized infantry companies and an engineer company

    wikipedia speaks
  10. No, the light from the light bulb inside as the tankers were reading in their nice warm vehicles in the motor pool.

    Damn, that was quick. I'm in 81st BDE (the Wiki link), and we haven't finished re-adjusting the battalion yet! But yes, our armour battalion is turning into a Combined Arms one. I do not believe that all battalions are going to do this.

  11. have you viewed this? Guard BCT(UA) map.

    the 81bde has the coolest patch in the army.
  12. I like the one the 221st Cav has. (Nevada Guard). It's the same red/white horse patch as the 11th ACR, but doesn't show up on the chart: It only shows the BCTs. (You will also note a lot of the them have generic Guard symbols because they haven't drawn up the new one for the new unit yet. For example, there is talk of resurrecting the Gold Digger patch for a new California unit.

    You can do an entire thread on the different unit patches. For example, 42nd ID (New York) used to be an entire rainbow, until they lost half the division on D-Day: So they cut the patch down to half the size. 28th ID is called the 'Bloody Bucket' due to all the losses it took, though the symbol itself is a Keystone. (Symbol of Pennsylvania). With the redesignation of thr 49th Armor to the 36th Infantry, it leaves the Jersey Blues as the only Guard unit with an Armor patch. It's an infantry division though, so I'm not sure how they managed it.

    81st Bde's patch is a raven, stylised from several different tribes of the Pacific NorthWest as it would appear on a totem. The name is 'Shikaka' apparently. We called it the Battle Pigeon, Donald the Desert Duck, The Electric Stapler and other less-respectful names. The colour version of the patch looks a lot nicer than the subdued version.

    In addition to the shoulder insignia, each battalion also has a distinctive unit insignia worn on the epaulettes. My old one from my now sadly disbanded battalion had a cactus, a fleur-de-lis and a Carabou with a background of chain mail symbolising service in the Mexican-American wars, France in WWI and the Phillipines in WWII as an armour unit.

  13. 221st cavalry looks very Arizona in color,pattern, blue star and so on, perhaps it was an Arizona regiment at one time. my favorite regimental insignia is the297th infantry of Alaska. like i said the 81st armored brigade is probably my favorite shoulder patch. although it is no way californiay, it would do great for an OR or AK battalion. :wink:
  14. the new jersey unit, is the 50th brigade combat team 42nd infantry division (mechanized). from what i understand they are detaching all brigade from the divisional structure, and forming "brigade combat teams(UA)" some will retain the patch of their old division (like the Iowa brigade) and some will revert to a patch of past significance like the 50th BCT(UA). I think the divisional HQs and some "divisional base elements" are being formed into "units of employment" and will have BCT(ua) and and an aviation brigade associated with them. but please dont quote me on such things, i dont want to be a KIA (know it all).

    0h ugliest patch 38ID