Fort Sheridan, Ill. –
Soldiers from the 3-335th Training Support Battalion (85th Reserve Support Command) used a local Engagement Skills Trainer to conduct a Postal Match as a part of their unit Marksmanship Team tryouts. In an effort to improve Unit marksmanship skills, esprit de corp, and retention, the 3-335th "Blackhawks" have committed to fielding a team of six Soldiers to compete in the 2020 All Army Small Arms Championship.
During the Unit’s OCT Battle Assembly, Lt. Col. Keith Cowan and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Fall directed leadership to put together a list of Soldiers interested in representing their Battalion at All Army. The intent to conduct a form of selection was expressed. Information about the event and overall goal was put out, and after schedules were taken into consideration, 14 3-335th Soldiers signed on for the upcoming tryouts to take place as a part of their November Battle Assembly.
1st Sgt. James Salm and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Rosendorn helped conduct the training. "I was very impressed with the chain of command’s enthusiasm and support with regards to working towards sending a team to the All Army match." Sgt. 1st Class Rosendorn said. "I was equally impressed with the level of interest among Soldiers within the Unit."
As scheduled, the "Blackhawks" Soldiers utilized a local EST facility to conduct their Postal Match and All Army tryouts. Simulators are directed as a part of Table II in the Army's Individual Weapon Training Strategy (TC 3-20.0) and any of them can be used to host an Informal Postal Match. Staff Sgt. David Kukla, Training NCO from 85th RSC, was on hand for support and assistance during the entire process. Four separate courses of fire were put together, with a maximum aggregate possible score of 150 points. These included a scored zero and rifle qualification, pistol qualification, and a modified Precision Pistol (Bullseye) course.
Staff Sgt. David Kukla confirmed the effectiveness of this approach, saying, "Having a unit come prepared to train at my site, in this manner was appreciated. The EST seems to be an afterthought to many, and as a result, tends to be underutilized."
Using a Postal Match or other organized shooting format is a way to enhance EST use. The Soldiers participating also found this beneficial. Capt. Jeremy Crochiere said, "The EST tryout was a great way to evaluate potential team members, utilizing a variety of shooting skills, rapidly and efficiently." Staff Sgt. Paul Prado added, "I liked the tryout because it is a good competition for all, a fair competition. All Soldiers fired the same number of rounds, with the same targets and environment (conditions)."