Basic training on Fort Sill continues with rifle marksmanship

Basic training on Fort Sill continues with rifle marksmanship

FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - We’re continuing to follow the Delta Battery, 1-40th Field Artillery Battalion basic trainees, now in their fourth week. Over the last several days, they’ve been working on rifle marksmanship. It’s the first time many soldiers have handled a gun.

“I have never fired a weapon in my life," said Private Matthew Jozefczyk of Chicago.

“I had only ever fired a weapon one time before and this whole experience is very new to me," Private Amanda Nelson of Upstate New York said.

As a graduation requirement, each soldier, armed with an M4, has 40 rounds to hit at least 23 targets from a distance of 300 meters and 50 meters. They shoot in three positions that include prone supported, prone unsupported and kneeling, skills these soldiers should already know.

“If it weren’t for the drill sergeants, I would be lost," said Pvt. Nelson. "They’ve personally come over and helped me and told me everything I need to know and that’s the reason I feel confident operating this so far.”

The soldiers have been practicing for the last couple of weeks and Wednesday was qualifications. With more than 150 soldiers having to qualify, it’s quick process with a system checking hit and missed targets.

“We have a tower that tells us if they’ve hit or missed," said Staff Sergeant Kevin Bickley. "At the end of firing, they’ll get a calculated scores of their total hits and misses.”

Safety is of utmost importance, something soldiers have ingrained in their minds.

“When I was shooting, I was nice and safe," said Pvt. Jozefczyk. "I followed all instructions from drill sergeants and I shot perfectly find and I was perfectly safe.”

Staff Sgt. Bickley says when soldiers go up against the enemy, accuracy is also a top priority.

“The reason why the Army exists is so we can fight and win the nation’s wars," said Staff Sgt. Bickley. "If you can’t put effectively put bullets downrange, we’re ineffective.”

Wednesday, soldiers qualified for their back up iron sites. Next week, they will qualify with a primary optic.

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