Heightened skills are nice but every organization must address the bottom line. Like it or not, progress and function is driven by the dollar.
In light of budgetary concerns it is a common folly to sacrifice shooting team activities as this is false economy. The small investment in maintaining a cadre of top-tier marksmen outweighs the cost.
Would you spend a dollar today if you knew it would save five dollars tomorrow? Of course! Investments in the USAR Shooting Team has saved millions of dollars by preventing wasted ammunition and time on the range.
While in charge of a small arms training team at Ft. McCoy SGM Steven Slee tracked all training aspects, including ammunition use. During initial mobilization efforts through 2004 the team successfully qualified all assigned automatic rifle and crew-served machine gun personnel, as verified by the local Garrison Support Unit, and did so while consuming 29% less ammunition than that allocated by DA PAM 350-38 (STRAC). This is about 30,000 rounds per brigade less than the STRAC allocation in machine gun and automatic rifle training alone.
Jerry Hale, Ft. McCoy’s Ammunition Supply Point manager documented that prior to USAR Shooting Team involvement units were sometimes burning through three to four times times MORE than their STRAC allocations and achieving less than 20% qualification rates. USAR Shooting Team shooter-instructors yielded a savings in excess of $50,000 per brigade in machine gun training before even considering rifle qualification.
This type of savings was common with training elements at Power Projection Platforms staffed with shooting team members. While serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Fifth Army COL Alfred Dochnal documented that within 200 training days on the ground these shooter-instructors raised weapons qualification rates of mobilizing Soldiers at Fifth Army PPPs from the previous 48% to 98% and that their “expertise has saved about one million rounds of ball ammo alone,” thus directly raising the survivability level of the Soldier deploying from there. At $0.27 per round, one million rounds of ball ammunition equates to $270,000 saved in a single fiscal year. This was the documented ammo savings realized by USAR Shooting Team instructors at Fifth Army PPPs, primarily Fort Hood, for a single fiscal year in rifle qualification alone compared to the previously-assigned drill sergeant-trained cadre. USAR Shooting Team shooter-instructors have staffed every PPP and enjoyed similar savings.