Learning basics key to weapons understanding

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Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets conduct Primary Marksmanship Instruction at the 2013 Leader Development Assessment Course June 16th at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash in preparation for basic rifle marksmanship. U.S. Army photo by Hannah Hunsinger.

With their bodies sprawled flat across the grass and their non-firing hand holding a solid grip underneath to support their rifle, 2nd Regiment Cadets listened intently to i

nstructions from Cadre as they learned the basics of primary marksmanship instructions June 16 during the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“I do feel very confident in my skills right now just because I’m renewing my mind and just learning things that I need to keep as a repetition in my mind so I can be successful,” said Cadet Joseph Reed, 2nd Reg. of Prairie View A&M University. “If we are going to be future leaders in the world, we need to learn how to shoot right.”

Cadets learned safety rules as well as the basic fundamentals of shooting while rotating through five stations of 50 minute classes for phase one of basic rifle marksmanship training.

The Cadre used five focus areas for PMI to assist Cadets with proper firing procedure: positioning, sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze and follow through.

“If we can make sure they are comfortable with the weapons and that they understand the fundamentals, there won’t be an issue anywh

ere else that could jeopardize their career or hurt somebody else,” said Master Sgt. Rufus Beamon.

Four rules were posted throughout the site and repeated at each station to keep Cadets and Cadre alike focused on safety. The rules were: treat the weapon as if it’s loaded, keep the weapon at a low ready, don’t point at anything you’re not willing to destroy and make sure the target they are shooting at is positively identified.

“We got a lot of information on how to use the rifles, which is going to come in handy when we are actually on the range firing them,” said Cadet Jacob Howell, 2nd Reg. of Lehigh University. “When we have live ammo, which is a big safety hazard, we need to make sure we are all confident with handling the weapons.”

At one station, Cadet Taylor Wolf, 2nd Reg. of Wentworth Military Academy & College walked through the grass before suddenly making contact with the enemy. She quickly ducked behind the makeshift barricades. Wolf and fellow Cadets then described the steps they go through to get out of the situation to the Cadre assisting with the exercise.

“I believe this is helping me because I’ve been trained by a lot of family members who are in the service on how to deal with weapons, but I would have never guessed the procedures for the barricade and I would have done it totally different,” said Wolf.

The result of this training exercise is to ultimately ensure Cadets feel at ease with their weapon and confident enough to move onto the next stage of BRM later at LDAC.

“For some, this is the first time they’ve actually touched a weapon and if you are more confident with your weapon, that leads to less issues down the road,” Beamon said. “It’s just to make them more comfortable so that way they can receive the training and go on and be successful.”

Story by Sara Nahrwold

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