Ash Hess: A Response

Originally posted at:

The views related in this post reflect the direct thoughts of the author (Ash Hess) and do not directly reflect the views of the DOD or the US Army.

Since everyone is suddenly interested in fixing Army Marksmanship, here is what we have been doing over the past three years. When I say we, I am talking about USAIS, MCoE, members from the Divisions and Reserves. We have published a new rifle, pistol and machine gun manuals. We have an approved change to the way a qualification runs that will be validated over the next few months and we will be changing the strategy to match those things we have changed. We have a Master Marksmanship Trainer program and National Guard and Division run schools that are coordinating with the master program to develop NCOs across the Army. We have also produced a different zero target that combined with the coaching from the TC is producing improved shooters with every use.

My question to those blogging about The Army is where have you been the past 3-8 years. I received no comments on the new manual from you. I have comments from SOCOM, AMU, Divisions, professional instructors, Drill Sergeants, basic training units and Law Enforcement. I have nothing from you. I even have comments from some guy in Denmark who read a blog I did. You talk about your time as a Marine and that’s awesome, thank you for your Service. You have no idea of the challenges we face in the Army let alone our true skill level. Yet, still without really attempting to “fix problems” that you heard rumors about you build content off our plight. Truth is you have done nothing to assist. You sit around like a bunch of old women and complain and gossip. Meanwhile work is being done. The most recent manual only published 18 months ago. A bit of research would help your content have more value. Feel free to message me and I will google it for you.

Truth is anything you say about Army Marksmanship is clickbait. Particularly when you say we have a marksmanship problem. What we have is a leadership problem. From NCOs who don’t know weapons to commanders who don’t put forth proper focus on individual skills and performance. A leader who accepts a 180 PT average and 23/40 also accepts bar minimum performance on everything else. Units with good leadership shoot well. Most Leaders want to do the right thing. They want their Soldiers taught the right things and to perform well. Any organization such as the Army is set up to reach baselines and little more. This is true for fitness and marksmanship. Unfortunately, this causes dedicated leaders to seek training outside of the Army which causes its own set of problems. Many find that outside training conflicts with Army policy, manuals, or Leadership intent. But you don’t know that, because you are out of the loop. If you read this and want to get into the loop, I might take the time to read you in, but then again, I may not. If you haven’t cared this long, you probably just want me to hear your version of training and as soon as I don’t sign up for your version you will go back to the hole from which you came. Much like CrossFit and vegan, everyone is an expert marksman and as soon as your version gets shot down you get mad.

We are making changes without you. My creds are widely available and I am easy to find. You can sit back and say that since you aren’t involved then it is going to be messed up anyway and your friends will support that. But while you are blogging crap, we will be in the halls and conference rooms working issues. Many of us will be on the line with Soldiers and NCOs improving individual skills. Others will be testing new weapons, working with schools, or writing things that will have impacts across 1.06 Million people and 364 Million rounds annually.

That’s awesome you are a viral internet keyboard Warrior. Keep up the good work. Maybe someday you will have the influence to do something for Soldiers to help them fight and win wars. In the meantime, keep up the good work, fix yer breathing and don’t jerk the trigger.


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