“Too Many Soldiers Can’t Shoot”
Army Times, 03/21/16
Words of wisdom from Helmut Hein
To all USAR Shooting Team members today and in the past, to all the members of SATT and the SARG, to all those others at the original RTCs, and all of those in other units that understood and understand – THANK YOU.
21 years ago USARC stood up the SATT. Based on MG Max Baratz (CAR) guidance and with his influence at DA I was given the task to be the project officer on building the SATT and its Program Manager during the follow on years. Prior to the SATT the ALL-USAR Shooting Team (ARST) fielded Mobile Marksmanship Training Teams in an attempt to improve unit marksmanship instructors. The SATT was the direct off-shoot from these MMTTs and was modeled more like the USMC Weapons Training Bn and the NGMTU than it was the AMU, but all provided some example for the SATTs’s organization and mission. Initially SATT was disapproved by DA, but some direct coordination made by MG Baratz resulted in a reversal of that decision however DA required us to remove from the SATT’s mission statement the support of the ARST – since the AMU was missioned to do that at that time.
In Sep 95, the provisional command called SATT, with mega assistance from the ARST, and other individual professionals, conducted the very first Army Reserve Skill at Arms Challenge (SAAC) at Ft. Benning, GA. Those of you who remember, know this was designed to instruct unit marksmanship trainers/instructors using a competitive venue. Rifles and pistols were the main focus. Instructor training, how to prepare for the training, ordering ammo, ranges, etc were all included in this 2 week challenge. MG Gunderman, USARC DCG, spent most of a day with us on the ranges, talking to the soldiers we were training and observing all the activities. To say he was impressed by the SATT+ARST and the enthusiasm of the soldiers we were training would be an understatement. Unfortunately, MG Gunderson retired after only one year. I won’t get into the various “battles” fought at the USARC level, we won some we lost some.
Well, here it is, some 21 years after the idea of the SATT started turning into reality, and it appears that the AC and Infantry School has had pretty much the same great idea. Pick up a copy of the 03/21/16 Army Times and read the article that provided this issue’s headline. There are some things missing from where we eventually got to, but the base mission is the same – train unit level marksmanship trainers/instructors. They include STRAC requuests, running ranges, and all of those nasty little things that keep so many from conducting good training. I don’t think the article addresses everything, but it sure looks a lot like a SAAC, except longer. I don’t know if they have a complete grasp yet of how the Army encourages failure (e.g., military academies and ROTC have little to no emphasis on marksmanship training, the failure to employ squad level live simulators for “everyday” shot grouping in basic training as well as in units – these could be rifled air rifles, lasers, or any other simulator that provides immediate feedback for shot placement/grouping).
There is a lot that we were the lead in (like bringing the M-16 and equivalent into the national match class of rifle) that few know about because I couldn’t get you the funds to really carry the projects to their ultimate conclusion before someone else picked up the same idea. Anyway, THANKS again to all of you. I take great pride in having been associated with you and that I had the opportunity of supporting you.
Comment from MSG Norm Anderson
What I have been trying to do (from the ground level) is to unite the 3 branches of the Army in it’s instruction and teachings by rotating USAR, NG, and AC instructors through whatever schoolhouse is created (as of now NGB has only DA1059 awarding small arms master gunner school) and therefore all branches recognize the 1059. Unfortunately, I will be retired before I see it happen.