Camp Atterbury, Ind. –
The Army Reserve Marksmanship Program hosted a retention and training event at Camp Atterbury. Open to all Army Reserve Soldiers, the Army Reserve Small Arms Championship is an Army Regulation directed event consisting of a mix of precision and timed action shooting events using issue service equipment shot on paper, pop-up, and steel targets from 25 to 400 meters. The event also included a formal qualification with a 100% go rate among all attending Soldiers.
“Events like the Army Reserve Small Arms Championship provide solid training and are great for Soldier retention,” said Command Sgt. Major Larry May, 84th Training Command. “This is an opportunity that many Soldiers (including me, before I attended) don't realize exists. I consider this to have the same value as the pending ACFT and deserving of the same amount of attention.”
The precision events provided the benefits of shooting at full distance (25 to 400 meters) from multiple positions with full feedback of each shot. The precision requirements were more stringent than those commonly found in sniper training as the silhouette targets featured a number of concentric scoring rings inside the target's center area.
The action events combined a fitness add-in based on the pending Army Combat Fitness Test with timed shooting on reactive steel and pop-up targets in various scenarios. Shooting positions were based on the new Army qualification with an emphasis on using barricades for kneeling and standing positions to engage targets while being timed.
In addition to the training, the Army Reserve Small Arms Championship also served as a retention event. “Events like these Small Arms Championship are what the Army needs to do. In addition to training, events like this have a high retention value. Retention ultimately saves money because Soldiers decide to stay in the Army, instead of leaving,” said Lt. Col. Charles Hensley, 310th ESC (377th Theater Sustainment Command). “This event has provided good quality team building. For instance, my team has Soldiers from different units within our Major Command. Being part of a team keeps Soldiers in, especially when they can attend events like this."
Members of the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program also provided coaching to the Soldiers. “Too few Soldiers experience true marksmanship instead of mere qualification,” said Cpt. Amnouayphonh Thammarath, 310th ESC (377th TSC). “Events like this are great for building confidence by providing full feedback to maximize training on a variety of scenarios, especially shooting at long distance. Looking at trends for the past 20 years, we need true subject matter experts capable of teaching at a higher level.”
“I've been passionate about shooting for 30 years and have been in the Army for 16. Members of the Competitive Marksmanship Program have instructors that help Soldiers absorb quality information easier versus the forced approach more common in the Army,” said Spc. Nakia Petersen, 390th Regiment (108th Training Command). “Soldiers are often hampered from the ineffective drill sergeant approach, which is too one way. The skilled competitive shooter-instructors in the Marksmanship Program use teaching methods more conducive to learning. They want you to learn and know the best way to teach you.”
Directed by Army regulation, the Army Reserve Small Arms Championship are held as often as Soldier interest and funding allows. In addition, all Army Reserve Soldiers are eligible to host and participate in Postal Matches during their any unit qualification as a means to get started on these retention and training events. This event featured Soldiers from the 84th, 108th, and 80th Training Commands, USACAPOC, ARCD, 83rd ARRTC/RTA, 100th TD, MIRC, First Army, and the National Guard, and the USARCMP would have liked to host more.