By Dawn Arden
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Jan. 25, 2018) — Cadre assigned to the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, spent Jan. 15 through 19 learning new skills in marksmanship and drill-and-ceremony techniques during a quarterly leader’s certification course.
The training opportunities this quarter featured mobile training teams from U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard.”
Capt. Joseph Brincat, 1-48th’s Company F commander, was the officer in charge of planning and coordinating for the battalion’s training event for this quarter. He said it took six months to get everything planned and in place. He said the effort is worth it to get all cadre “on the same page.”
“Without conducting a consolidated training event (we start to see) the development of bad or incorrect training habits,” Brincat said. “By bringing in the Army’s subject matter experts to train our cadre, we ensure that the most current doctrine, techniques and resources are being utilized within our organization.”
Cadre, consisting of mostly drill sergeants, were split into two groups, with Group A working with USAMU on rifle marksmanship.
USAMU Instructor Training Group Team Chief, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Rose, said the unit serves a dual purpose.
“The Marksmanship Unit has two primary jobs, to win national and international competitions with the Olympians we have, and then we have our team which is the instructor training group,” Rose said. “Basically what we do is take all of that competition experience, all of those best practices and techniques, and we put it back out to the force by going out and training them.”
Rose said one of the biggest changes in marksmanship training he’s seen during his career is “learning the why behind the what.” He clarified by saying Soldiers were always told where to place their feet and such for certain firing positions but were never told why.
“Now there’s a lot more emphasis on learning the why,” Rose said. “That’s something that we really try to emphasize when we come out and teach others. We’re working on their individual improvement, but we’re also focusing on their articulation on explaining the why behind the what. That will really help them when they run into Soldiers who find shooting challenging.”
Staff Sgt. Mauricio Rios, senior drill sergeant, feels learning to articulate with the proper language will help him better educate new Soldiers.
“There is a lot of stuff we take for granted, like shooting; it’s second nature, but there’s little techniques that can help you improve,” Rios said. “They talk about the common language in the Army. We all have a different language with our MOS, but that basic common language will make you better. The more proficient the drill sergeant is, the better they will be able to educate the Soldiers.”
Group B spent the week learning drill and ceremony with members of the Old Guard.
“The Old Guard is the epitome of professionalism when it comes to drill and ceremonies. Their level of discipline is amazing and inspiring,” Brincat said. “From high-profile ceremonies in Washington, D.C., to conducting funeral services in Arlington National Cemetery, their knowledge of impulse control and precision of execution are exactly what we want to diffuse down to our Initial Entry Training Soldiers in Basic Combat Training.”
Sgt. 1st Class Greg Werthmann, senior drill sergeant, said he participates in a lot of drill and ceremony as the funeral noncommissioned officer in charge and battalion drill master and appreciates the battalion bringing in outside sources for training.
“I picked up a lot of things from the Old Guard as far as techniques and little things they do within the formation where they can kind of mask little mistakes and make corrections within the formation without it being seen,” Werthmann said.
Brincat called the week’s training “invaluable” and said he has received many positive comments from the cadre who attended, along with how they plan to implement the new techniques into their company training plans.
Next quarter the battalion plans to work on physical fitness by bringing in instructors and trainers from the Total Soldier Enhancement Training Program.