104th Drill Sergeants and Instructors Train with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit

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Drill sergeants and instructors with the 104th Training Division spent a week at Fort Benning, Georgia with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit going over the latest techniques in Basic Rifle Marksmanship.

Though the 25 U.S. Army Reserve noncommissioned officers were quite familiar with rifle marksmanship, they found it critical to their mission as instructors to update their knowledge with the USAMU’s Instructor Training Group, said Staff Sgt. Scott Cleveland, an instructor with 3rd Battalion, 304th Regiment.

“Being an NCO, we should always be adapting, growing and learning the new things, and not being stuck in the old ways. These guys [from the USAMU] are bringing that to the table. They are giving us really good knowledge and techniques to bring back to our units and train our Soldiers.”

The training was not the average basic rifle marksmanship course, but more precise in detail, said Sgt. 1st Class William Fraiser, a drill sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 397th Regiment, 2nd Brigade.

In fact, some of the details the USAMU instructors were giving out were completely new, and put things into a whole new perspective for some of the 104th instructors.

“We are learning stuff we were never told,” said Cleveland. “Throughout my military career, I was always told how to do things, but not why we were doing things. And these guys are actually explaining what is going on inside the weapon and how to make those corrections.”

As a NCO in an instructor role, understanding the why behind an action is vital, according to Cleveland.

“I think that if you have a good understanding and knowledge of why you are doing things, it’s a lot easier to articulate to your Soldiers how to do those things too.”

Breaking down the reasoning behind certain movements, actions or positions made the training that much more important. As seasoned NCOs, it’s likely that a few bad habits have been picked up over the years, explained Fraiser, or maybe the information some of us are using is outdated or simply wrong. However, that is why we are here at the USAMU, the Home of Champions, to learn from the best marksmen, said the U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeant.

“[The USAMU Instructor Training Group Soldiers] are excellent instructors. They are out here showing us the right way to do it, and how the things that we thought we knew, are inaccurate.”

Instructor Cleveland agreed with Drill Sergeant Fraiser that the information taught over the week-long course was new, important and vital to his division mission.

“I believe this is the best training that I have had in the Army….I have been in the Army for 12 years now and some of this stuff, I’ve never heard.”

Learning new information and changing techniques after years of experience, is not an easy task, but it’s just what good NCOs need to do, according to Cleveland. And with all the changes in the Army right now, the 104th instructor said that leaders need to keep up.

“You need to adapt. You need to evolve. The Army is changing. Like I said, this is the best information I have ever seen, and I think it needs to get put out there.”

As instructors and drill sergeants, the 104th Training Division Soldiers work with hundreds of privates and cadets each year. So learning the latest information, from the best marksmen, is one of the most important responsibilities we have, said Fraiser.

“Instead of repeating the same old stuff, we are learning how to better, and more accurately train [the privates and cadets]. So that way, they can carry that information with them forward into their career.”

The role of training the future of the Army is just something all NCOs should take seriously, said Cleveland.

“If you want to be an NCO, especially if you want to be an instructor, you should be held to a higher standard. So you should go look for that new knowledge and those new techniques, and start absorbing that stuff because people are learning from you.”

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