FORT BENNING, Ga., (May 27, 2015) — 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, is becoming the Lethality Battalion to meet the Maneuver Center of Excellence’s mission of producing maneuver leader, Soldiers and formations that are smart, fast, lethal and precise.
“Lethal” is to be deadly in the application of force. Maneuver forces must be lethal with all weapon systems from the M4 rifle to the M1 tank and joint fires capabilities.
To achieve lethality, the 316th Cavalry Brigade developed a common approach. That means that all of the courses at Fort Benning that focus on training Soldiers to become more lethal will be aligned under the single umbrella of the 1st Bn., 29th Inf. Regt. The courses involved are Bradley Leaders, Bradley Master Gunner, Combatives, Heavy Weapons Leaders, Sniper School, Stryker Leaders, Stryker Master Trainer, Master Marksmanship Training, Small Arms Master Gunner and Abrams Tank Master Gunner.
The battalion’s new setup will allow for greater collaboration and communication between courses, said Lt. Col. Kenneth Reed, commander, 1st Bn., 29th Inf. Regt.
“This is important because there’s a lot of synergy here,” said Lt. Col. Richard Surowiec, who relinquished command of the battalion in May. “That synergy can then be pushed out to the force. We’re not going to be stove piped in our training.”
The way the master gunner courses are organized is being changed to better reflect that synergy. Instead of having three completely separate master gunner courses for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Abrams Tank and Stryker Combat Vehicle, there will be a four-week Master Gunner Common Core, which will focus on skills common to all three platforms. Soldiers can then take platform-specific master gunner courses that will focus on one of the three vehicles.
Surowiec said the benefit is that leaders will know that all Soldiers who go through the common core training will come out with the same skills, such as knowing how to set up a gunnery range. This will increase the number of noncommissioned officers who then return to their units with that important skill set.
The Small Arms Master Gunner Course is an entirely new course that will train Soldiers to be experts in engaging with and understanding the operations of a variety of small arms weapons and optics. It will be three weeks long and will include instruction on weapons including the M9 pistol, the M249 SAW and the M4 carbine, among others. Certification for the course’s first instructors began May 18; the course itself will open to students for a pilot run in October.
The Heavy Weapons Master Gunner Course will replace the Heavy Weapons Leaders Course. The difference will be that the new course will focus on a wider range of weapons and will be geared more toward training noncommissioned officers, rather than platoon leaders and platoon sergeants.
Photo Credit:A competitor waits to engage a target Nov. 3, 2012, during the Live Fire Stalk. All of the courses that focus on training Soldiers to become more lethal will soon be aligned under the single umbrella of the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment (U.S. Army photo).