For Friday, were going to discuss a new topic: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures that are obsolete or fossilized. This week’s Fossil Friday topic is the 25 meter scaled target qualification, or ALT-C. References for this discussion are TC 3-22.9, change 1 dated January 2017, and the Draft Integrated Weapons Training Strategy (TC 3-20.0)
TC 3-22.9, change 1 dated January 2017 states that: “Units should conduct weapon qualification on a standard record fire range. Convenience and comfort should not be the prime consideration when choosing a range.” In other words, qualifications should be done at distance, giving an accurate reflection of the Paratrooper’s capabilities. Not having to account for distance and external ballistics factors means realistically that the ALT-C qualification is a glorified grouping exercise compared to shooting at actual distance.
The Draft Integrated Weapons Training Strategy scheduled for publication by the end of the Fiscal year, changes what the ALT-C can be used for. Units will only be authorized to use ALT-C while deployed, and the Brigade Commander has to sign off on the ‘validation’. Even if it is chosen as the qualification by the unit, soldiers will only be considered ‘qualified.’ They will not be eligible for badges or promotion points, even if they qualify ‘Expert’ on the Alt-C target.
Units have 6 months from the date of the ALT-C range to get their Paratroopers qualified on a pop-up range. That means upon return, the unit has to schedule a range as a part of reintegration training.
Moreover, TC 3-22.9 states that “ When firing record fire, each Soldier must wear the proper uniform: the helmet and IBA with all SAPI plates (if available) in addition to standard PPE.” This means that all body armor mus be worn as a part of qualification, no exceptions. If Paratroopers cannot wear body armor due to a medical profile, then they are ineligible for qualification.
Finally, Major General Kurilla, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, qualified on the enduring range on the first of June. He zeroed his weapon at 25 meters, and qualified at distance on a pop-up range. He has led by example, now we need to follow in his footsteps and qualify as Training Circular outlines.
So to sum up, ALT-C is not going to be a viable solution for qualification as a part of the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy. Units need to conduct training and qualifications at true distance, this is the only way to build confidence in the Paratroopers’ ability to engage targets at distance. Units need to conduct qualification in their unit-issued body armor, with plates, and all appropriate PPE. And finally, MG Kurilla has set the standard: qualification at distance. Units need to follow his lead in this.