Integrated Weapons Training Strategy

We will be discussing the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy in more detail. The IWTS is structured with four gates, six tables for each gate. As with an x/y chart from algebra, we start at the bottom left with Gate 4, which is individual/Crew served Gates.

The tables for the individual and crew served weapons start with Table I: Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction. This should be conducted prior to every range-density cycle. For the Paratrooper, it is the same as going through pre-jump every time before going to jump. You have to refresh your memory as to what right looks like, and reinforce the good habits that are going to keep you alive. A comparison could be made table I being the same as the Gunnery Skills Test required for Bradley/Stryker crews.

Table II is the simulations table, This includes your TADSS Simulators, such as the EST. This is important because, it gives the NCO’s a chance to assess what the Paratrooper is doing by using the tools built into the EST to assess trigger squeeze, sight picture, etc. This gives the Paratrooper good repetitions building the muscle memory prior to conducting live fire.

Table III is the Dry-Fire Drills, This builds upon the good information the Paratrooper received in the EST. They should begin to self-assess what they are doing at all stages of their shot process, so as to be able to make corrections to their shot process if necessary, and capture what they are doing right. An analogy to this would be looking at the form of a paratrooper doing a deadlift. Letting them know what they are doing right, and what could potentially cause them harm.

Table IV is the Grouping/Zero Exercise. This is the important beginning phase of the zero. Paratroopers need to understand that they have to be precise with their zero and not accept a sub-standard zero. Being 1 inch off at 25 meters can have them off of the target approximately 18 inches at 300 meters.

Table V is the Practice qualification. Paratroopers need to be wiling to go through this multiple times to ensure that they have a good understanding of what their tendencies are during the qualification. An example would be aiming high on the 150-200 meter targets and missing them due to improper hold.

Table VI is the qualification. According to the Integrated Weapons Training Strategy, Paratroopers will get one chance to do this. It will be for the year, as opposed to a bi-annual requirement as currently stated.

The main thing to be aware of with this system, is if the individual Paratrooper through proper command emphasis, does all of these tables. They will have built the proper number of repetitions in so as to be able to be successful on Table VI, leading to less retraining required, and less ammunition expended on ‘retraining’ soldiers to qualify with their weapons.

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Raymond Miller
82nd Airborne Division Small Arms Master Gunner: primary weapons trainer, force modernization for individual weapons, and range liason for the 82nd.