Gunfighter Ground School: B Sqn Hits the Kill House and Ranges

By: MCpl Herald Mijares

Shooters in two ranks faced each other in preparation for basic Gunfighter training. Repetitive drills were called out as individual shooters developed muscle memory in their fighting stance; feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, upper body squared off to a known threat, shoulders forward, and rifle in presentation. Soldiers in Full Fighting Order engage a simulated threat; two rounds in the chest, “did it hit?” and “did it work?” Deliberate scanning for other possible bad guys, looking over the shoulders and assessing the 360-degree combat zone. B Squadron’s Ground School is in session.

Training was led by OC B Squadron himself, Major Alex “Quick Draw” Nitu, with the help of Urban Operations Instructors Warrant Officer Nathan “Fast Hands” Mills and Sergeant David “Six Shooter” McMurtry. Students soaked up knowledge in gun fighting and self-preservation, learned how to execute faster drills, shot on the move, and acknowledged situational awareness. In preparation for live-fire quick aim shooting, we used the indoor ranges located on base. Armed with iron sights, soldiers practiced proper aimed shots with sim-unition rounds. Instructors kept a watchful eye for bad drills and improper shots.  Repetitive drills kept the shooters engaged and groupings got tighter with time and practice. Major Nitu continued to challenge shooters with the shot-timer, which forced soldiers to apply gun fighting principles in order to make par time. With repetition, soldiers went beyond what was expected. Shooters engaged from the low ready and sent a round into the target in less than 4 seconds from the 6 meter mark. Then the Urban Ops Instructors explained and demonstrated basic room clearing. Shooters conducted 2- and 4-man entry from the approach, to the entry point assessment, the assault, and the room domination while keeping a high state of situational awareness. Assault groups cleared rooms as they engaged paper targets, and managed casualty collection points as instructors designated simulated injuries.

With the Ground School and Shoot-house both complete, B Squadron headed over to the range to complete quick-aim Shooting. 7 meters from the target, keeping their checklist in their head and waiting for the words of command, soldiers sent 2 rounds to the chest 1 to the head, heart racing while they scanned and breathed to keep away tunnel vision. Shooting on the move, engaging 5 targets with 45-degree points of approach, tested each shooter’s stability. Carrying on with night serials, shooters squared off and engaged with the naked eye in low-light conditions, with the torch (Weapon Mounted Light), and with the PEQ-4 targeting gear. With minimum depth perception, shooters struggled with drills and stoppages as each developed their own techniques. As the night grew long so did the cold, and by the end it became evident how human factors could affect marksmanship.

I remember the last time I did a small arms night shoot, and it was 6 years ago with Recce Squadronn and then-Captain Nitu. I am still thankful to this day how it created a solid foundation for me as a soldier. The planning and execution from Ground School to the night shoots went very well, and as for the soldiers who participated they now have a stronger foundation and greater appreciation for the battlefield.